Hinduism is the world's oldest religion, according to many scholars, with roots and customs dating back more than 4,000 years. Today, with about 900 million followers, Hinduism is the third-largest religion behind Christianity and Islam. Roughly 95 percent of the world's Hindus live in India. Because the religion has no specific founder, it’s difficult to trace its origins and history. Hinduism is unique in that it’s not a single religion but a compilation of many traditions and philosophies. One of the key thoughts of Hinduism is “atman,” or the belief in soul. This philosophy holds that living creatures have a soul, and they’re all part of the supreme soul. The goal is to achieve “moksha,” or salvation, which ends the cycle of rebirths to become part of the absolute soul.
One fundamental principle of the religion is the idea that people’s actions and thoughts directly determine their current life and future lives. Hindus strive to achieve dharma, which is a code of living that emphasizes good conduct and morality. Hindus revere all living creatures and consider the cow a sacred animal.
Food is an important part of life for Hindus. Most don’t eat beef or pork, and many are vegetarians. Hinduism is closely related to other Indian religions, including Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. Hindus observe numerous sacred days, holidays and festivals.
One of the most important festival for Hindus is Diwali: The Festival of Lights. Every year around October and November(depending on the Indian calender), Hindus around the world celebrate Diwali, or Deepavali—a festival of lights that stretches back more than 2,500 years. And in India, the five-day celebration marks the biggest holiday of the year. This year Diwali will be celebrated on November 14th. The next day of Diwali is Hindu religion New Year which has its own calendar and you all will be surprised that the year 2077 will start On November 15th this year. I rely this Hindu holiday as the Hindu Christmas celebrations. Enjoy the member highlight with their style of celebrating Diwali and their traditional recipes.
Sheetal Parikh, MS, RDN, LDN
Vegetarian Nutrition Diversity Liaison