What is unique about Hindu festivals and traditions?
As we all know, Hinduism is a religion full of colourful festivals and ancient traditions that we cherish. With 1 billion followers and counting, what makes Hinduism unique is its diversity. Traditions and festivals vary from one state to another, that is something we all should embrace. There are also many festivals with a little-known history or background.
Diversity of Hinduism
“Hinduism is not just a religion, it’s a way of living.” This is a quote that truly represents Hinduism. There are many factors that affect Hindu festivals and traditions. One of them is the geographical location of a state.
Hindu Festival of Holi celebrated by Hindus across the world.
Photo by bhupesh pal on Unsplash
Many rituals and traditions are related to their geographical locations. One example is the Ganges, or as it is known as in India, Ganga is part of a very important tradition. Many people bathe in the Ganges as a tradition to cleanse themselves. One of the biggest festivals on earth, Kumbh mela is also celebrated on the banks of the Ganges where thousands of people gather to cleanse themselves of their sins. Being one of its kind no other religion celebrate their festival in this unique way.
Food is an important part of festivals. It is served as an offering to the gods to show gratitude for blessing everyone with happiness, prosperity, and a good life. Each festival which is celebrated in different states also has integrated their regional foods into these festivals. For example, on Holi, the festival of colours, which is often celebrated in Northern India; malpuas, puranpolis and gujjiyas are enjoyed. These are traditional dishes from states in North Indian.
Uniqueness of Hindu festivals
Hinduism is a unique religion, and there are many reasons why Hinduism differs from other mainstream religions.
One reason why Hinduism is different from other religions is because it is one of the only modern mainstream polytheistic religions with many festivals to honour many of the gods. Festivals such as Krishna Jayanti, Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali, and more are all examples of festivals about the gods.
Another reason why Hindu festivals are unique is because they are not a private affair, they are celebrated with friends and neighbours. An example of this is Ganesh Chaturthi. Unlike Christmas, which is a private affair, Ganesh Chaturthi is normally celebrated with friends and family. Originally, Ganesh Chaturthi was a private celebration, but during India’s freedom struggle, it became a celebration for everyone of different castes to come together in unity to pray. Another example of such festival is the Durga puja. The first communal Durga puja was supposedly celebrated in 1790 in West Bengal. These ways of communal celebrations differentiate few Hindu festivals from other religious festivals.
Uniqueness of Hindu traditions
What makes Hindu traditions unique is that there is no definitive set of traditions that one needs to follow to become a Hindu. This is what differs Hindu traditions from traditions of other religions.
One example of a unique Indian tradition is the offering of Prasadam(offering of fruits and sweets). Prasadam is usually offered at the altar of a god, and after the Puja(worship) is over, the Prasadam is then distributed to the devotees.
Another important tradition in Hinduism is to bow down before the elderly around us, such as grandparents and other senior citizens. This gesture is supposed to represent people asking for blessings from their elders.
In conclusion Hinduism is a diverse and unique religion. Its diversity is what makes it so varied and interesting. The festivals are colourful and rich in history and the traditions have a purpose, yet Hinduism is a religion that gives us an opportunity to keep on learning. It is unique, yet it represents community and celebrating the meaningful things in life. This is how these traditions and festivals give us a new perspective into our lives and inspires millions of people outside India also to learn about Hinduism.
Author: Misha Hegde is the winner of the Article writing competition on the topic "What is unique about Hindu festivals and traditions?" conducted by Satyawahr on its first anniversary
Disclaimer Notice: The information in this article is sourced from different sources. The opinions, beliefs and views expressed by the author and forum participants on this website are personal and do not reflect the opinions, beliefs and views of SatyaWahr.