Wednesday June 19, 2019

Understanding Hinduism in United States

Swami Vivekanand was the establisher of Hinduism in Chicago . More than 80,000 Hindus presently live in Chicago comprising American as well as Indian Hindus.

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Hinduism in Chicago, Wikimedia Commoms

This is a video released by Chicago police department. In this, Rev. Chaplain Dean guides us through the cultures and traditions of Hinduism.

Watch this video

Here is a brief summary of his point of view.

  • In Chicago, Hinduism was established by Swami Vivekanand (a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa) in 1883. Since then nearly 80,000 have settled in the Chicago.
  • A major chunk of this immigrated population comprises of Indian doctors, professors and engineers. Most of them are concentrated in western and northern suburb regions.
  • Hindus worship different idols of gods and goddess. However they believe in one supreme lord “The creator”. There is a great sense of respect among Hindus towards all other religion.
  • Every Hindu home has some place reserved for worship. Be it community temples or simple home temples, Hindus always worship their gods in temples. Darshans are often done during weekdays followed by offerings. There’s a whole different mesmerizing ambiance inside a Hindu temple.
  • Unlike western culture, eastern nations such as India, Japan follow a different tradition. Wearing shoes are not allowed inside temples and touching any idols are not allowed. Even photography is strictly prohibited.
  • In Hinduism, the Right hand is ideally preferred for handling sacred objects and food. It is considered inauspicious and rude if someone offers via his left hand.
  • Similar to England, Indian police do not carry weapons with them. So these Indian Hindus often get frightened when approached by a police officer.

Related article : Being an American Indian ,from the eyes of Gauri

  • Women often wear Saari and marriage necklace along with a Bindi on their forehead as a sign of marriage. In males, sacred tilak is applied. People welcome others by doing Namastey (generally means I worship the divine within you)
  • Touching is considered to be a bit inappropriate in Hinduism (especially among opposite genders). It is highly inappropriate to ask Hindu women to remove anyone of them. Police officers are expected to respect the dignity of Hindu women. Same goes the other way round.
  • Most Hindus are vegetarians and non-smokers, so smoking and bringing non-veg food are considered to be disrespectful.
  • Swastika is a religious symbol symbolizing power (Shakti) which means let goodness prevail. In Hindu homes, one can often see swastika inscribed in front of their doors. Even temples contain these holy symbols as a mark of auspiciousness.

Pritam, a 3rd year engineering student in B.P. Poddar institute of management and technology, Kolkata. A simple person who tries to innovate and improvise himself.

Twitter @pritam_gogreen

  • Pritam Go Green

    I must say this is a good initiative taken by Chicago Police department. This indeed helps a lot in shortening the bridge between civilians and police officers.

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    Its good that Indians always remain rooted to their culture .. no matter where they migrate and settle, they carry forward their culture and traditions

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  • Pritam Go Green

    I must say this is a good initiative taken by Chicago Police department. This indeed helps a lot in shortening the bridge between civilians and police officers.

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    Its good that Indians always remain rooted to their culture .. no matter where they migrate and settle, they carry forward their culture and traditions

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“Visit Strengthens Further Internal Cohesion and Unity”: Pope Francis Meets Leaders of North Macedonia

Ahead of his visit, Francis praised the mix of cultures, religions, and ethnicities in North Macedonia, and said he was traveling there to "sow these seeds" of solidarity.

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Pope Francis
Pope Francis greets the crowds in Skopje on May 7. RFERL

Pope Francis, who is on a historic first trip to North Macedonia, has met with the country’s leadership and held Mass in the main square of the capital, Skopje.

Francis was welcomed by the outgoing president, Gjorge Ivanov, and other government officials.

He has sought to encourage the country’s drive toward integration into the EU and NATO after its name change resolved a decades-long dispute with Greece last year.

Like neighboring Bulgaria — Francis’s first stop on his three-day Balkan tour — North Macedonia, a small Balkan country of 2.1 million, is mainly Orthodox Christian.

But the country has a large community of ethnic Albanian Muslims, who make about one-quarter of the population. North Macedonia is home to an estimated 15,000 Catholics.

In meetings with Ivanov and with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev at the presidential palace, Francis praised North Macedonia’s multiethnic and multifaith culture, calling it an example of peaceful coexistence and a bridge between East and West.

“These particular features are also highly significant for increased integration with the nations of Europe,” he said.

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Like neighboring Bulgaria — Francis’s first stop on his three-day Balkan tour — North Macedonia, a small Balkan country of 2.1 million, is mainly Orthodox Christian. VOA

“It is my hope that this integration will develop in a way that is beneficial for the entire region of the Western Balkans, with unfailing respect for diversity and for fundamental rights.”

In his speech, President Ivanov complained about delays in accepting Macedonia in the Euro-Atlantic family.

“You come at a time when [North] Macedonian society is deeply divided, and the [North] Macedonian [nation] is heavily wounded by broken promises, unfulfilled expectations and faltering trust in the international community,” he said.

Viktor Dimovski, state secretary of North Macedonia’s Foreign Ministry, told the media on May 6 that the pope’s historic visit comes at a crucial moment as the country seeks entry into the European Union and NATO.

“The pope’s visit strengthens further internal cohesion and unity, and brings messages of reconciliation and solidarity,” he said.

The pope’s visit also included a prayer at the memorial of North Macedonia’s most famous native daughter, Mother Teresa, who was born Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu to Albanian parents in 1910 in Skopje when it was still part of the Ottoman Empire.

Francis was surrounded by Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity nuns in praying before the memorial. Mother Teresa was canonized by Francis in 2016.

Ahead of his visit, Francis praised the mix of cultures, religions, and ethnicities in North Macedonia, and said he was traveling there to “sow these seeds” of solidarity.

“Living together is not always easy, we know that,” the pope said in a video message. “But it’s worth struggling toward, because the most beautiful mosaics are the ones that are richest in colors.”

muslims
But the country has a large community of ethnic Albanian Muslims, who make about one-quarter of the population. Pixabay

With the name dispute with Greece now resolved, North Macedonia, which has been an EU aspirant since 2005, hopes to get a clear signal for the start of accession talks in June. Skopje also expects to become the 30th NATO member at the end of the year.

Also Read: Puppeteers Bring Message of Harmony, Love, Tolerance in Pakistan’s Karachi

Stevo Pendarovski, who was elected president in a runoff election on May 5, said he saw his victory as a “ticket for NATO and EU.”

Six Western Balkan countries — Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia — are in various stages of the accession process to join the EU. (RFERL)