Learn about a few of the many rituals of Hinduism, including why no all Hindus practice them all. Also, learn how many rituals are based on daily life milestones.
Rituals of Hinduism
Many religions include important rituals and Hinduism is no exception. In fact, some would say that rituals of Hinduism are more important to the religion’s followers than is the case in some other religions.
Many followers of Hindu participate in rituals every day. These rituals help to keep their faith at the front on their thoughts and each has a purpose.
Learning about Rituals of Hinduism
Those who are raised in Hinduism hear about and see rituals of Hinduism all around them from the time that they are old enough to understand. The rituals therefore become part of who they are. For those not raised in the religion, it can be tricky to learn about the rituals of Hinduism for the following reasons:
- Differences: Not every Hindu practices the same rituals. For example, some are only for members of the social elite. Others are used only by those with what is considered a lower station in life.
- Numbers: The sheer number of Hindu rituals makes it difficult to learn about them all. With so many deities and rituals for each, the task of trying to learn about them all can be overwhelming.
- Variations: Even if you have two groups of Hindus who do practice the same rituals, there may be vast differences in how the ritual is performed. These differences could be based on location, caste or other differences.
There is no doubt that the rituals of Hinduism are interesting. While learning about them all may be a challenge, below are a few examples.
Daily Life Rituals of Hinduism
As mentioned above, many who practice Hinduism rituals do so on a daily basis. Some rituals mark what some may consider mundane aspects of daily life while others mark important milestones.
- Puja: This is a daily ritual that typically takes place after a follower has bathed, but before they eat their first meal. The point of this ritual is to help the humanness of the follower be able to be better in tune with divine and spiritual things.
- Annaprashan: This ritual commemorates the first time that an infant eats solid food.
- Upanayanam: This is a good example of a ritual that is not observed by all Hindus. Upanayanam is only for those with a high social standing and marks the day that a child enters into his or her formal schooling.
- Sraddha: This is a ritual in which a Hindu family would offer a meal to another follower of the Hindu religion in order to “pay” for that person to offer prayers up for the soul of a deceased loved one.
- Cremation: The cremation ritual is one of the most important in the Hindu religion. Hindus believe that only the body dies, and the soul lives on. For this reason, the purpose of the cremation is not just for the body, but to release the soul. The ritual starts by cleansing and dressing the body which is then cremated, usually on a funeral pyre.
Rituals of Hinduism: Practiced by All?
As already mentioned, not all rituals of Hinduism are practiced by all. Followers of Hinduism learn which rituals pertain to them as they learn about their religion in general. Some rituals are practiced daily, others may only be once in a lifetime, but each has deep meaning to those who are of the Hindu faith.