Our deferred Hindu worship

There have been so many years of living through it that it doesn't seem newfangled for another year of late worship and festivals to set in!

Over decades immigrants like us have traveled and settled on foreign land and subsequently rested their religion and beliefs. New places of worship sprouted everywhere around the world, and along with that, changed the ways and terms of prayers and reverence.

Some people improvised rituals to their convenience and availability when others fumbled through the internet and phone calls for precise arrangements. Another group stuck to excuses of residing on foreign land. Nevertheless, the Hindu religion flourished and spread with newfound beliefs.

A mini idol of Goddess Durga and her children

Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world. It is considered a ''way of life" rather than a cohesive, single belief that will guide. There's no one founder and no single set of doctrine or faith. Tweaks over centuries have given rise to numerous groups of people who embrace this religion with their own set of customs and practices.

Here's even a case study on "Internet Pujas", which manifests a new perspective towards the religion, strange for many, but heartily adopted by numerous!

The social and political developments in society have also significantly shaped the Hindu religion. Whenever a group of people withdrew from the larger population, there was a notable shift. Such transformations were especially prominent during the rise and fall of empires, the era of British colonization, and now, starting from around the 1960s, when new settlements of Hindu immigrants thrived throughout different continents.

Hindu priests and believers around the globe have now improvised their own set of disciplines that serve personal spirituality. Many Hindu women have reformed their customs and rituals. Men discarded their holy threads as and when comfort demanded. Many Hindu women discarded daily practices like wearing the bindi and the vermillion to blend in with the foreign culture, sometimes dwelling on the excuse of inadequate motivation and inconvenience.

Century-old practices, once deeply rooted in Hindu homes and communities, are now overseeing striking changes. One such major transformation is our prolonged and customized Hindu worship, which is now widely accepted among Hindus who live in a foreign land.

Often, it gives an edge, as we celebrate a festival twice. The first time, in sync with family and friends in our native land, and then again on alien ground on a deferred date.

This year we were all set to celebrate the Saraswati puja, but not in February 2021. It got pushed to as far as April. It was a collective decision, and everyone succumbed to it as there were not many other options. One chance that we got to embrace our culture and traditions - nevermore heeding the deviations that it brought along.

A collage of Hindu festivals

Similarly, it happens with our other big festivals, like Holi, Diwali, and even on our most elaborate celebration of the Durga Puja. Though Indians are from the land of emotions, this deems more practical.

A collage of Hindu festivals

It seems that three explicit determinants lure us to join the festivals each year, whenever or wherever it is. Firstly, are we meeting friends? Secondly, is the food good, and finally, can we stand in front of the Gods and Goddesses and soak in their purity and benevolence, and, in turn, smear it on our kids.

Of course, these criteria herald changing terms from one family to another but, the three comprehensive thoughts still linger at the hindquarters of our minds. While this whole outlook might look very unethical to some religiously devoted people, it is still a rigorous evaluation in another's mind!

A happy little girl enjoying during the Hindu festive days
We then embrace the single dish on the platter! It is incredible how much joy it brings to immigrant families with the feeling of being close to our native culture and traditions. An ecstatic evening passes by with native food, Indian music, and familiar faces greeting in bounty. The rich ambiance and chastity of Hindu worship once again surge through our mind and body, and a sense of security and calm refreshes us.

There have been so many years of living through it that it doesn't seem newfangled for another year of late worship and festivals to set in! Once again, we embrace another jubilant season of Hindu festivals in whatever form and status it manifests itself.

By: Joyeeta Mukherjee

This article and the opinions expressed in it are personal opinions. It is not meant for imposing specific views or endorsing a particular way of life. Also please do ignore any errors or omissions that you might come across. We pledge to learn from them. Happy viewing.


Sanjoy said…
A true picture of festive enjoyment of Hindu immigrants has been vividly described in a nice way, but I am not in favor of late worship in a deferred date.

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