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Magnitude of Hinduism in South America

Hindu Customs

Bengaluru, Sep 9 (UITV): It is estimated that 550,000 Hindus in South America, chiefly the descendants of Indian indentured laborers in the Guianas. Many Hindu communities can be found which would organize social and cultural events to celebrate Hindu festivals to attain spirituality and goodwill.

Hinduism is world's third largest religion after Christianity and Islam, with wide variety of traditions and practices like Yoga, meditation, worship (puja), devotion to a god or goddess, pilgrimage to holy cities, live according to one's dharma (purpose/ role) to lead the life with calmness.

The presence of Hindus in South America has many reasons but Indian indenture system would be the primary one which had resulted in the development of large Indian diasporas in South America as well as other countries. Several nationalities were brought as indentured servants to replace them (Indian indentured laborers), but only the Indians adapted well to the harsh tropical climate.

Suriname, in which 27% of the population are Hindus, would be the only country in the Western Hemisphere where all the Hindus speak Hindi. That this is so after  many years away from India-is amazing.

There was colonial policy of the British in Guyana, was to crush Hinduism at all costs and Christianize Hindus. But tremendous efforts of Hindus to assert themselves as Hindus had been successful.

Rituals of Hinduism

Hindus have adapted themselves very well to their country of residence and are generally held in high regard by the local people on account of their hard work, expertise and non-political nature.

Another interesting feature is that many local persons are interested in Indian religions and spirituality.

Holi Festival 2017 Celebration in Guyana (South America)

In areas where there is large percentage of Indian people residing together, temples of various sizes can be found, according to the population. All main Hindu occasions are observed, from Basant Panchami in January to Gita Jayanti in December.

Written by Adithya Dithu