Hindu Festivals : The Hindu Festival Essay

1056 Words Feb 23rd, 2016 5 Pages
To what extent is the Hindu festival Diwali similar to the Christian holiday Christmas? Within the Hindu tradition, followers aim to live moral lives, called dharma, in order to break the cycle of reincarnation and achieve moksa, a transcendent state free of reincarnation (Wilkinson 172). Hindus aspire to live in a manner to produce positive karma that will break the cycle of samsara, or reincarnation (172). Hindus who meditate, practice yoga, study Hindu texts, or act selflessly believe they will attain moksa (173). In contrast, Christians aim to reach salvation through living a pure life without committing sins (85). A pure Christian life includes following the word of God, loving their neighbors, forgiving others, and helping the needy (85). Followers of these two faiths aspire to live good lives, but they diverge on how to do so. These similarities and differences between Hinduism and Christianity are represented through their respective holidays, Diwali and Christmas.
In October or November, Hindus celebrate Diwali, a festival of lights (Mann 88). During this holiday, Hindus commemorate “the return of the Hindu god, Lord Rama, to his kingdom after 14 years in exile” (Canton). Lord Rama is an avatar of the Hindu god, Vishnu, and his return to his kingdom marks the triumph of good over evil. Gurinder Singh Mann, a professor of religious studies, describes Diwali as a holiday in which Hindus light candles and lamps, clean their homes, give gifts, pray, feast on…

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