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Hinduism

Hinduism is the world's 3rd largest religion practiced primarily in India where approximately 80 percent of the population identifies as Hindu. It is also practiced in Nepal, Indonesia and dispersed in other countries around the world. In the U.S., there are over 2 million hindus with the influence of some of its practices growing in the form of yoga and the use of chakras. 

While there are many common threads of Hinduism, the common beliefs are typically the same. Basic Hindu concepts:

  • Belief in many gods, which are seen as manifestations of a single transcendent power or supreme God (Brahman)
  • A human being's basic nature is not confined to the body or the mind, but to the spirit within the soul (atman)
  • All living things has a soul and are all part of the supreme absolute soul, including animals and other creatures of the earth. 
  • People’s actions and thoughts directly determine their current life and future lives. Beliefs determine thoughts and attitudes, which direct actions, and by the actions, we create our destiny - law of cause and effect (karma)
  • A belief in the doctrines of samsara (the continuous cycle of life, death, and reincarnation) with a goal to achieve "moksha" (salvation) to become part of the absolute soul. 
  • Food rules govern a Hindu’s life—when to eat, what to eat, and who can prepare food for whom. This varies by culture and beliefs. 
  • Hindus strive to achieve dharma, which is a code of living that emphasizes good conduct and morality.
  • Hinduism is closely related to other Indian religions, including Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism.
  • Host Hindus are also active animists worshiping god at specific times, and wearing amulets to guard against diseases and evil.

Hindu Holidays and Festivals

Hindu holidays and festivities are diverse and celebrate everything from ancient religion and honoring deities, to the change of seasons and commemorating events and life celebrations. Many of the Hindu festivals are celebrated worldwide while some are celebrated in specific regions. 

The dates for the holidays go by the Hindu lunisolar calendar, which is different from the gregorian calendar so the dates vary from year to year. 

Deity celebrations: Shivaratri, Ramanavami, Krishna Janmashtami, Ganesha Chaturti, Navaratri

Seasonal Celebrations: Holi and Makara Sandranti aka Uttarayana or Pongal

Life celebrations: Raksha Gandhan and Diwali/Deepavali