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How I Celebrate My Faith

Archana Ganta - November 29, 2016

As an Indian American, I struggled with balancing Indian culture and American culture. At home, our household was fully immersed in practicing and appreciating Indian culture and my family’s faith, Hinduism. However outside of home, I used to hide my faith and culture and embrace being American. It wasn’t until I visited India for the summer a few years back that I fully cherished being Hindu. Hinduism is considered the world’s oldest religion. India is home to thousands of temples built during ancient Indian empires. I was lucky to have grandparents and parents show me these beautiful temples and allow me to experience their culture and history firsthand. I mainly celebrated my faith by road tripping around South India to visit many temples and to share these amazing experiences with my family. Hinduism also has countless festivals. After visiting India and learning about Hinduism, I became more involved in America. In my hometown, I would visit our local temple to celebrate such festivals. My favorite festival, Holi, consisted of throwing colored powdered onto people. Holi is known as the festival of colors and the end result was everyone looking like they were dipped into a rainbow. Hinduism’s major tenets include dharma and moksha. Dharma means to follow what is right and what is ethical. Moksha means to attain salvation and to ultimately free oneself from the cycle of rebirth. Hindu’s believe in reincarnation and rebirth. I wear a necklace everyday with two deities from Hinduism, Ganesh and Lakshmi, to celebrate my faith. Ganesh is the elephant god who is known to remove our obstacles. Lakshmi is the goddess of prosperity and wealth. The necklace was given to me by my grandparents and serves as reminder about our time spent together in India, the tenets behind Hinduism, and the rich history behind Hinduism. Being a Hindu is a unique part of me and I feel fortunate to celebrate that everyday.