Religious organizations declare October as Hindu Heritage Month

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Logo of Vishwa Hindu Parishad America (VHPA). Photo: courtesy VHPA

On Sept. 5, 2021, a number of religious organizations announced the launch of a special month to celebrate the heritage of the Hindu faith.

“Dharma-based organizations including those of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain traditions from around the world, are pleased to announce the addition of another major festival, indeed an entire month of festivals, in October as the Hindu Heritage Month,” a press release from World Hindu Council of America (Vishwa Hindu Parishad America- VHPA) said.

Hindus represent one of the newest and the fastest growing immigrant communities in the United States and Canada, organizers said.

“Backed by a rock-solid family structure and love for education, they are fully integrated into every aspect of their adopted society, enriching it with not only outstanding professional contributions but also rich cultural heritage,” they added noting the food, clothes, festivals like Holi and Diwali, which are already appreciated in the Western world.

“Based on the “open source” model, the celebration of Hindu Heritage Month will be a showcase for the diversity that is so fundamental to Hindu civilization,” the press release said.

Each participating organization will decide the manner as well as the schedule of their event(s). On a given day, there may be several events taking place in different parts of the United States and Canada. Celebrations may take many forms – cultural programs, fashion shows, webinars, multi-day conferences, walkathons and more, “the choices being limited only by our imagination,” organizers said.

Participation is open to all organizations, businesses and individuals “that identify with the Sanatan (everlasting) values embodied in Hindu dharma,” the press release said.

More than 30 organizations have already joined hands and many more are expected to join according to organizers.

Dr. Jai Bansal, vice president of VHPA, is one of the organizers of this event. According to him, with second and third generations now making their mark in their adopted lands, “the time has come for the Hindu community to come out of their shell and talk about its rich cultural heritage and important role in making the multitude of contributions to every aspect of the fabric of the adopted lands.”

President of the Hindu Student Council (HSC) Arnav Kejriwal said, “HSC is extremely excited about the Hindu Heritage Month. The American experience is all about sharing and learning each of our unique cultures, traditions and histories. We will get to see so many communities graciously tell their unique stories in the course of a dedicated history and awareness month, and I am ecstatic about the prospect of seeing the Hindu American community offering our own stories in return.”

General Secretary of the VHPA Amitabh VW Mittal said, “The Vedic Sanatan Dharma — which is, with a limited capacity of understanding, referred to as Hinduism — represents the only continuous civilization that has survived the test of time for tens of thousands of years. There is no single book that one can consult to get what the Hindu philosophy is, as it is constantly evolving and its contribution to the human civilization is unmeasurable; its vibrance in fact runs the risk of being misinterpreted. The Hindu Heritage Month will give an opportunity to the world to understand how open and free this philosophy is, which is quite often limited misrepresented by the tag ‘religion’.”

President of Hindu University of America Kalyan Viswanathan said, “The Hindu Heritage Month is a great opportunity for the Hindu community to remember our collective  journey so far — from the ancient Vedic times, our own golden eras, through the trials and tribulations of conquests and colonization — and look optimistically forward at the opportunity we have for recovering and rearticulating the Hindu worldview for future generations. Amidst the celebrations, I hope we can reflect on what it means to be Hindu in the modern world: whether it is just a matter of being of a certain ethnicity or we have something to say, something to contribute that may just be of immeasurable value to all of humanity.”

General Secretary of Coalition of Hindus of North America (COHNA) Shobha Swami made a point about the diversity of the culture that is going to be celebrated the whole of October. “Multi- generational Hindus from different parts of the world who call the US their home add to the color of the ethnic tapestry here. They would like to showcase their vibrance in arts, dance, music, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, Ayurveda and food in all its richness for this month-long celebration in October,” she said.

Any organization that wishes to participate in the HHM celebration can register as a partner at: www.hindumonth.org.

 

 

 

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