Explain Why You Might Think Observing Visible Religious Activity Can Help You To Understand What Part Religion Plays In A Community?

981 words - 4 pages

Religion is an idea with many different interpretations, especially amongst varied societies, and cultures. Most people have some idea of what a religion is, whether they are insiders, outsiders or don't-know. It is commonly thought that our interpretations and assumption of what exactly a religion is are founded by our surroundings in society and the communities we live in. The six major world religions are Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Sikhism and Hinduism, each is very different whilst at the same time very similar. Each of these groups partakes in various outward activities to express their beliefs and practices. An example of such an activity would be religious festivals, which are visible to people outside of that faith. On the surface, you might think there is a lot to be learnt from observing such religious activities of an unfamiliar faith.The Republic of India implemented a constitution which allowed freedom to practice any religion, not placing any one religion above another. More than 80 percent of India's population are practicing Hindus. Hinduism traces its routes to the Indus civilisation of approximately 4000 to 2200 BCE and was influenced greatly by invasions by the Aryan of Russia and Asia. Such a blend of cultures brought about a merger of traditional Hinduism with the Aryan's religion of Vedism and developed further with the inclusion native Indian faiths.Hindus worship a variety of gods and hold festivals in celebration of these deities. Perhaps, one of the most important of these is the Durga Puja which is celebrated throughout India but perhaps most prominently in Calcutta, Bengal. The celebrations center around Goddess Durga represents a united front of all Divine forces against the negative forces of evil and wickedness. The gods in heaven decided to create an all-powerful being to kill the demon king Mahishasur who was ready to attack them. At that very moment a stream of lightning dazzled forth from the mouths of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh and it turned into a beautiful, magnificent woman with ten hands. Then all the gods furnished her with their special weapons. The image of Durga, the Eternal Mother destroying the demon, Mahishasur is symbolic of the final confrontation of the spiritual urge of man with his baser passions.The first recorded Durga Puja was celebrated in approximately 1606 by the more wealthy families in India to worship the goddess Durga.. Today, Durga Puja is a community festival which evokes great enthusiasm and popular support. The evolution of many clubs, associations and societies has made the Puja cosmopolitan in character. The social and ritualistic significance of the Puja has also been modified to a great degree. Today, this festival has become an occasion for pageantry and extravaganza. Age-old traditions have given way to loud film songs and sometimes the goddess, Durga, is modelled on popular Bollywood film actresses. However, animal sacrifices, a must earlier, have been dispensed...

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