Saturday, 7 January 2012

Hindu Holidays & Places of Worship (10)

Hindu Holidays:
It has been said that Hindus have a holiday for every day of the year, but even that may be an understatement! Exactly how many Hindu festivals are celebrated is not known, but one scholar of Hinduism has listed more than a thousand different Hindu festivals. However I will be explaining the two of the  most known  holidays which are Holi,  and Divali.  


Holi: Holi is a festival of colours and spring. During this time caste divisions are forgotten and bright coloured power is thrown on people. This festival lasts two days, day one consists of a public bonfire, the main event of Holi is the water and coloured powders. The myth behind this holiday is that the Demon Holika attempted to kill Krishna which is Vishnus avatar while it was a baby, the infant sucked the blood from Holika and exposed her as the demon she was.  Below a video from last years Holi Festival in America:


This video shows Holi in India

  


Divali: Festival of lights, Hindu’s decorate their homes with colourful lights. This is symbolic because it represents piercing the evils of darkness and the mysteries of light. 
The Goddess Ganaga
Scared Places
The Ganges River:  The Ganges River it is the boundary river between India and Bangladesh. It is referred to as Ganga after the goddess. Ganga is worshiped by Hindus who believe bathing in the river washes away bad karma. Hindu's also preform rituals in front of the river because they believe it multiplies their blessedness, some Hindu's request to die around the river because they believe if you pass away near the river you will enter into your next life with your sins washed away. With the constant high traffic of people around the river it has become one the most heavily polluted rivers in the entire world! It is also immensely populated there are millions of people living around the river.

                                                                                   
 A Hindu man praying in the river. 

                                                 






                                                                 

Places Of Worship
Unlike other religions, in Hinduism it is not mandatory for a person to visit a temple. Instead Hindus have small shrines or 'puja room' for daily prayers. These shrines are decorated as an alter for worship, Around the room you will find images of deities in picture or statue form. The purpose of the puja room is to bring offerings such as flowers, fruit and incense to the deity of their choice so that they god or goddess will be satisfied. The room is also for personal praying or meditating.


Below is an image of a Puja Room

A good Hindu will have a small shrine or ‘puja room’ for daily prayers.  Hindus generally go to temples only on special occasions or during religious festivals. Hindu temples are often a meeting place to sing religious devotional songs and chants. 


Important Hindu Temples: 
In Hindu temples members practice religious chants and songs. We are going to look at three of the most important temples in Hinduism (plus one in canada) 

                                                                                                                                                                             Hindus believe that their lives are merely stages in the progression to ultimate enlightenment. The temple is a place where God may be approached and where divine knowledge can be discovered. The temple is designed to dissolve the boundaries between man and the divine, the temple is not just a building but the temple ‘is’ God. 


 Below are examples of modern and ancient Hindu Temples.


 Swaminarayan Akshardham - Worlds Largest Hindu Temple



This temple was opened in 2005 and since then it has been a popular landmark of India's cultural and religious landscape. In 2009 it was featured in the Guinness World Records book for being the largest Hindu temple in the world. 





The Sri Meenakshi Temple


The Sri Meenakshi Temple is located in the city of Madurai in India. This extravagant temple was created in the early 17th century for Shiva and his wife, Parvathi. The wife is also known as Sundareshwara and Meenakshi. The annul 10 day Meenakshi festival that is celebrated during April  to May usually attracts over one million visitors!






Hindu Temples In Canada 
                 The Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto. 
                                                 



Constructed in 2007, The Mandir is a architectural masterpiece with towering pinnacles, domes and marble pillars.








Since we are looking at Hindu temples it is only fit that I show you a video depicting the types of song and chants that occur in the temples. The video below is a collection of 5 Hindu Prayers, what they sound like, the significance of the prayer and how to pronounce the names. 


1 comment:

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