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Report on Religious Field Research - Essay Example

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The paper is a field research of Hindu religion through its festival, Diwali. One of my acquaintances was Indian who followed Hinduism. He was quite excited about one of his major festival, Diwali, which was fast approaching. It was a good opportunity to understand the religion through its traditional festivals. I asked if it would be alright if I could be part of their festivity. He happily agreed and invited me for overnight stay at his home. He also informed that someone would explain the significance of rituals and traditions that are part of the festival. A day before the festival, Diwali, I went to his home, where I was welcomed by his parents, siblings and hordes of other relatives who had come to celebrate the festival together. I later found that during the two main religions, the whole family comes together to celebrate. This strengthens the family bond and helps maintain and value the cultural identity of individuals. Diwali is also known as festival of light. People light their homes and celebrate it fireworks, sumptuous food, friendly gambling. The whole festival is celebrated with gaiety and carefree abandonment to mark the victory of good over evil. It encompasses five days of rituals and traditions. The first day is also known as Dhanteras where the augment of wealth starts by buying utensils or silverware. The second day is Narak chaturdashi. Diwali, the main festival is celebrated on the third day by lighting rows of diyas (small bowl like structures with one pointed edge

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which is filled with oil and lighted with cotton strand, dipped in oil). It also falls on new moon day so the lighting dispels the darkness. Goddess of wealth, Laxmi is worshipped on this day and bestows wealth and prosperity to people. The fourth day is Kartik Shudda Padyami, where precooked food is eaten and people are engaged in friendly competition of kite flying. The fifth day is Bhai Dooj when sisters tie thread to the wrists of their brothers to affirm their love and blessing. The festival is hugely important event in the life of Hindu. Various legends are attached to the festival. The most popular is that people celebrate the return of Rama by lighting their homs, Rama was incarnation of God and also the ruler of Ayodhya, who had returned after fourteen years of exile. He had also killed evil Ravana and therefore, festival also signifies victory of good over evil. On Narak chaturdashi (second day) and Kartik Shudda Padyami (fourth day), two evil spirits, Narakasur and Bali were killed by Lord Krishna and Lord Vishnu respectively for the wider welfare of the people. The legend of Bhai Dooj is quite interesting. This day, Lord Krishna’s sister, Subhadra ties a rakhi (a beautifully woven thread) on his wrist and wishes for his long and safe life. The sisters continue the traditions on this day. Hindu religions are significant as they promotes family ties and social relationships. I was especially enamored by the Laxmi puja where Goddess of wealth is worshipped. People clean their homes and decorating it with flowers and draw designs on floor in bright colors. Small footprints are also made that go to all parts of the home. They signify Goddess’ footprint and invite her for prosperity. Goddess is worshipped in the evening before lighting

Summary

Religion plays an important part in the life of people. It influences all aspects of human interaction and its broad spectrum of rituals and traditions can be contributed to the diversity of people spread across the geographical boundaries. Religion can be broadly described as principles and guidelines that provide the basic platform for people to lead a socially compatible life within the predefined parameters of the social compulsions…
Report on Religious Field Research
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