Essay (2500 words)
Topic: Compare and contrast the customs topics: • The use or non-use of images • Sacred texts • Ethics • Initiation or birth rites • Funerals and Mourning • Marriage • Wedding Ceremony • Fasting
and laws of TWO world religions on ONE of the following
• Food laws • Clothing customs • One major festival • The weekly holy day • Religious buildings • Pilgrimage • Another approved topic (contact the lecturer)
It should be clearly structured with an introduction and conclusion. Subtitles may oe used. The essay should provide detailed descriptions of the practices of both religions concerning the topic, and it should explicitly identify various similarities and differences.
It should also contain a list of resources (otherwise called a bibliography), namely an alphabetically ordered list of all sources that you have actually cited in the essay. Sources can include books, articles and appropriate websites. You should have at least five sources as an absolute minimum. This list should not include scriptural books such as The Quran or The Gospel of Mark or The Book of Genesis, although relevant scriptural verses would normally be cited in your essay.
You may use any referencing system of your choice. When quoting scriptures, simply provide the book, chapter and verse (eg Quran 5:43; Genesis: 1:17-24; Matthew 17:2-6; Laws of Manu 9:55).
The word count includes text, references, tables and appendices but does not include the list of resources. A 10°/0 variation of the 2500-word limit either way is allowable.
The four main criteria for marking are: contents; structure; language; and research.
Hinduism and Christianity
In this essay, a key understanding of the comparison of the two major festivals of the two world religions has been made. This essay focuses on the practices, morals, ethics, behaviors or prophecies that connects the humanity with the spiritual and supernatural elements of major festivals of the two world religions. There are several facts, beliefs have been given to reveals the key aspects of two world religions. However, in this essay key spotlight has been put on Hinduism and Christianity. This essay roll around two major festivals named Diwali and Christmas of two different world religions. In the following essay, we will discuss the difference between two world religions based on the customs and laws followed by them
Religion is a system of worship, faith, and interest followed with great devotion. It can be considered as a belief in a superhuman power i.e. God or Gods. Religion is a social-cultural system which involves designated practices, morals, ethics, behaviors or prophecies that connects humanity with the spiritual and supernatural elements. Different religions have their ideas, thoughts, morals, customs, cultures, ethics and lifestyle for the humans. As per an estimate, there are thousands of religions in the world. Some of the most popular world religions are Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Jainism, and Sikhs. World Religion, as in its category, consists of more than 83% of the global population practicing these religions and having faith in their respective cultures and customs (Brockington, J. 2016). For categorizing, broadly, 6 religions exist in the category of world religions. However, naming them according to the majority of population having faith in those, they are Christianity (2.1 billion), Islam (1.3 billion), Hinduism (900 million), Daoism (394 million), Buddhism (376 million), and Judaism (14 million) As the study consists of the 2 highly practiced religions, that is, Christianity and Hinduism, we'll discuss the origin and basic beliefs of these religions. For making the differentiation between these two religions we will consider one major festival from both the religions (Vestøl, 2016).
Hinduism, originating in Indian Subcontinent, is the oldest living religion on the earth, having its foundation since second-third millennium BCE from the time of Indus Valley Civilization. The sacred texts in Sanskrit language and other vernacular languages have served as great assistance in spreading it worldwide. In Southeast Asia, particularly, Hinduism, since the 4th century CE, has been holding a dominant presence, therefore completing its 1000 years of prevailing and continued existence. The term “Hinduism” was influenced majorly by the publication of the book Hinduism (1877) by Sir Monier Williams, who has also been an author of Sanskrit dictionary. The textbooks in which laws and customs are defined of the Hinduism are written by Hindus (adherents of the religion), under the rubric of Sanatana Dharma (eternal law) (Brockington, 2016).
The major Hinduism beliefs are as follows:-
There are several human belief in this religion. For instance, truth is eternal and they believe that truth is the only essence and reality of the universe. People in this region also consider that Brahman is the truth and reality and it is a real entity and considered as the true essence of God and reality. Nonetheless, they believe in Vedas and consider that it is bylaws and abide the religion, even if no adherents remain, Vedas remain. In addition to this, people following Hinduism focuses on Aatma and peace of soul. The soul (Aatma, in Indic language) remains alive forever and they look for salvation by doing the worship (liberation).
Thus, these major beliefs of Hinduism depict the unorganized structure though, but a very highly and vastly practiced religion in the world (Vestøl, 2016).
Originating from 1st century CE, the religion Christianity stems itself from the life, teachings, and death of Jesus of Nazareth (The Christ, or the Anointed one of god). In addition to this, talking about its adherence, it is the largest and most widely dispersed religions geographically around the world. The largest groups constitute, broadly, the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox churches, and the Protestant Churches. Nonetheless, to describe from its roots, basically, Christianity is the ‘Faith’ tradition which mainly holds its focus on the figure of the god, known as ‘Jesus Christ’. With this faith, comes all the group of followers of this religion, the bylaws, rules, contexts and the culture of the religion (Koopmans, 2015).
Major beliefs of Christianity:-
There is only one god and he is omnipotent or "all-powerful". The concept of God is true and faithful and is infinite, eternal and always been and ever be.
In addition to this, we can understand the difference between Christianity and Hinduism by considering the major festivals from both these religions. We will discuss the way of celebration for the festival, the customs, and laws related to the festival and the belief of followers in the religion. For such discussion, the festival of Diwali and Christmas has been taken in the essay. Christmas is the biggest annual festival for the Christian community because it is the day of birth of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated by the billions of people in the world. However the date for the birth of Jesus Christ is arbitrary but it is celebrated on the date when Romans worshipped Saturn i.e. God of Sun (Vestøl, 2016). The festival of Christmas is celebrated in the month of December on 25th day as per the English calendar to remember the birth of Jesus Christ. This day celebrated by a great number of Christian people to spread the message that the plan and purpose of God will reach if there is any hope, love, light, and life. People celebrate this festival with the customs from pre-Christmas winter celebrations. They decorate their homes, visit relatives and friends and exchange presents. Several events are organized by the schools, communities, and churches to celebrate Christmas and to exchange gifts. On the Christmas Eve which is a day before the Christmas day, Santa Claus does come to give gifts and wishes to children and people. Santa Claus is a legendary figure introducing by western Christian culture. Also on the day of Christmas, people visit the churches to worship Jesus Christ and to celebrate the joy of his birth (Maity, 2017).
On the other hand, the Hinduism has Diwali as a great festival in its culture. Diwali is also a big festival as a great majority of people celebrate Diwali. Not only Indians but many other countries have a public holiday on the day of Diwali and the people of these countries also celebrate the festival of Diwali with full of joy. Diwali is called the festival of lights and the day is related to a great story of Hindu culture. Although, for different faith, the day of Diwali marks different historical stories and events ultimately this day is considered as the day of victory of light over the darkness and good over the evil. The story of Diwali is related to the great Hindu God Lord Rama. On the same hand, some people worship goddess Lakshmi for prosperity. Diwali is celebrated in the month of Kartika as per the Hindu calendar and it is the darkest night of that month. This is a five-day festival which includes several rituals and preparations. On this festival, people clean, renovate and decorate their houses, workplaces, and markets. They wear the finest clothes and offer worship to goddess Lakshmi who is the goddess of prosperity and wealth. People visit their friend’s and relative’s places to greet or to share wishes, sweets, and gifts. Diwali is one of the major cultural events for all the communities such as Hindu, Jain, Sikh, and Buddhist in the Indian subcontinent and for so many other countries which are having Hindu population (Maxwell, 2017).
Christmas and Diwali are the most commercialized festivals for their related countries. People spend a lot of money on the preparation and celebration of both the festivals. However, both the festivals belong to different religion and group of people but the way of celebration and the volume of joy experienced by the people on both the festivals is quite similar. That is the reason that the festival of Diwali also known as the Christmas of India (Dobe, 2015).
It is considered that a festival of lights, celebrated as one of the major festivals by Hindus all over the world, in the memory of Lord Rama every year. The celebration and customs of celebrating Diwali symbolize the ‘victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance’ (Acharya, 2019). During the celebration, temples, homes, offices, and other buildings and the entire city is brightened with diyas (oil lamps or candles) and lights, on the darkest night of the month, to depict the victory of light over the darkness. The festival falls between mid-October and mid-November every year. The culture of celebrating this festival is a 5-day celebration starting with "Dhanteras", followed by "Roop Chaudas", then "Diwali" and afterward, "Bhaidooj" and ends with "Goverdhan pooja" the 5th day. The worship of Lord Rama, Goddess Lakshmi, and Lord Ganesh are done in all these 5 days (Clooney, 2010). The festival is celebrated in the memory of Lord Rama, as in the Hinduism holy books, he returned from 14th-year forest exile and the residents of Ayodhya (A city in Uttar Pradesh, India) welcomed him with oil lamps and candles. Basic rituals in the celebration include worship of Lord Ganesha, Goddess Lakshmi, and lord Rama. Making of Rangoli (art from colors), lighting diyas, and wearing new and fine clothes to show positivity and newness. Being a major festival of Hindus, it is celebrated with full enthusiasm by the adherents of the religion every year (Cooper, et al. 2018).
It is celebrated every year on 25th December in the memory of the birth of the Christian God, Jesus Christ Christmas is one of the major festivals on Christianity religion and is celebrated by billions of people all around the world who follow and have faith in the religion. Nonetheless, if we talk about the origin of Christmas, it is found that when Mary (Parents of Jesus Christ) and Joseph arrived in the city, they had no shelter and only stable was there for them to give birth to the Christ child. Angles were proclaiming this news to the shepherds who were also indulged in further dispersion of information. The date of Jesus’s birth is not known but the church in the early fourth century fixed the date as December 25th (Hussain, 2018). Nonetheless, the set corresponds was the date of the solstice on the Roman calendar. Most Christians celebrate on December 25 in the Gregorian calendar and universally accepted. The main rituals and customs of celebrating the festival include installing and lighting the Christmas tree, the hanging of Advent wreaths, Christmas stockings, lighting of candles and lights, and the creation of Native scenes depicting the birth of Jesus Christ, and the Christian persons and saints dressed in the uniform of St. Nicholas or Santa Claus to depict kindness and humanity to the ones who need it the most by gifting presents. Therefore, Christmas is a major festival for the Christian community, is celebrated by them in a full fledge and excited manner, in adherence of all the customs and rules depicted by the religious book- Holy Bible (Thakur, 2019).
Two major festivals: a comparison
Two world religions (Hinduism and Christianity)
The two world religions taken for the discussion are Christianity and Hinduism. These two religions are the most popular religions which are followed by the highest majority. Christianity is the largest religion in the world and Hinduism is also the third-largest religion which is followed by a great majority. Hinduism is confessed by the largest part of the Indian population and also adepts by some other countries. The major difference between these both religions is their foundation (Carman, 2018). Christianity is founded by Jesus Christ and refers to the faith and belief in Jesus Christ whereas the Hinduism has no founder and it is an evolving religion. It is unknown that when the Hinduism began first and who founded it for the first time. Also, Hinduism has belief in thousands of gods and goddess. Both religions have different beliefs which are derived from different holy books and religious histories. The followers of Christianity only follow their religion whereas the Hinduism followers allow Christianity. Christianity is opposed to any other way of worshiping that is not allowed by their religion. The major difference between these religions is about the fact which makes the follower believe that the ultimate destination of every human spirituality is the same but the ways are varied according to their religions. Christianity believes that everyone will be liable to answer the god for all his actions but the Hinduism said that each person will be punished by his own karma i.e. actions (Mehta, 2019). In terms of festivals, these two festivals, being a major customs in their respective religions, play a vital part in adhering to the bylaws and rituals of the religion. Diwali is a 5-day celebration while Christmas is a 1-day festival. Diwali is celebrated as the homecoming of Lord Rama while Christmas as the birth of Jesus Christ. Diwali is considered to be the worship for the goddess of Money while Christmas is the festival to start a new year. Diwali has no pre-decided date, and the date is decided as per the darkest night of Hindu calendar month, “Karthik". While, Christmas has a pre-decided date every year, which is December 25th (Aslan, 2013).
After assessing the facts, practices, morals, ethics, behaviors or prophecies that connects the humanity with the spiritual and supernatural elements of major festivals of the two world religions, it is found that Diwali and Christmas both are celebrated with the spirit of worship god. In both festivals, people joined themselves with a view to promote the spirit and faith among them. Diwali signifies the triumph of good over evil, a harbinger of hope and betterment and Christmas, being a significant depiction of kindness and peace all over the world. Therefore, it could be inferred that Christmas and Diwali are the most commercialized festivals for their related countries and religions and celebrated with a pure heart and worship.