Religions and Religious Flavours


Dr. Ravi P. Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

As we all know there are many religions in India — Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism,  Islam, Judaism, Baha’i Faith, Zoroastrianism and some other smaller faiths such as  Dev Samaj. Every religion has its important days that are celebrated by its followers. Each religion has its important temples.

For example, church or cathedral is the main temple of Christianity and Christmas is the principal day of this religion. The Sikhs have beautiful gurudwaras  where people are served with langar (food and water) etc. Some big and gorgeous gurudwaras allow you to spend a night or two in the Sikh temple.

For Hinduism, there are many temples all over the country and quite a few overseas also where Hindus celebrate their important religious days.

One of the important religious days of Hindus is   Diwali  or Deepawali where its followers light   Diyas  (earthen lamps) by having a wick in a diya filled with oil.  Every year there are reports that so many hundreds of thousands of Diyas have been  lit up — breaking previous records of the number of Diyas lit. Of course, these days apart from earthen lamps, electric bulbs light up the festival. This festival is celebrated in many other countries also — USA, England, Nepal and other countries where significant number of Hindus live.

This festival of Diwali is linked with the happy return of Lord Ram along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman to his kingdom in Ayodhya after a fourteen year exile. He was also accompanied by Hanuman who is also feted and adored by Hindus. This year the festival of Diwali has recently been celebrated on 12 November which incidentally is a night of the new moon. Another important Hindu festival is  Holi  which falls on a full moon night (Poornima) where people celebrate by  colouring one another with colours — both dry and liquid.

While celebrating  Diwali or Holi or other festivals, the anglicised people wish each other by saying  Happy Diwali or Happy Holi etc. The people use the term. Happy very often. Even on the Teachers Day   that is related to the birthday of the first Vice President and second President of  independent India,    S Radhakrishnan, people generally wish  Happy Teachers Day.

The word   Happy  has become very popular in India even by people who are not anglicised. So they wish each other ‘Happy Birthday’ or Happy Anniversary or Happy holiday etc. Are we so unhappy that we need to say Happy  so often?  Not really, but some words or expressions enter our vocabulary unknowingly.

Anyway, let me wish Antonio well and hope he is enjoying himself in the early period of Winter and also sharing his happiness with his numerous followers all over the world.


Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 4 Dec 2023.

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