Hinduism is the biggest religion in India. Other important religions are Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Buddhism and the religion of the Parsees.
you like to know more about the Hindu Gods? Be prepared: Hinduism
has many gods. Most of these gods have several different names. In the
South they might have a different name from the North. Very complicated.
It is not so easy to understand this religion.
The most well known deities are Shiva,
his wife Parvathi and their sons Ganesha and Murugan, Vishnu and his wife
Lakshmi, the Goddess Kali, Brahma and his wife Sarasvathi. You can recognize
these Gods on the basis of their different attributes and colours. All
the deities fulfill different functions. Ganesha, the god with the elephant
head, removes all barriers. People worship him before embarking on any
kind of job and also before they pray to the other Gods. Sarasvathi is
the Goddess of wisdom and the arts. People pray to her prior to exams and
You don't find these Gods in temples
only. Most families have a small corner in their house with statues or
pictures of their favourite gods. They worship them with pujas (special
ceremonies) and decorate them with flowers every day.
You will find many different kinds
of temples in Tamil Nadu, big ones and small ones. Some temples have their
own elephant. Sometimes the elephant goes out beautifully decorated and walks majestically
through the streets.
The Hindu religion practised by non-Brahmin
castes in Tamil villages is different from the Hindu religion practiced
by Brahmin families who serve also as priests in the big temples. In the
Hindu village religion, the Goddess is the most important deity. Each village
has its own, local and very specific Goddess: she is known by many different
names, such as Ponniyamma, Tulakanattamma, Mariyamma or Draupadi. The Goddess
has a lot of power. She represents the Earth and Water and she is like
a mother to all people. The Goddess is responsible for the well-being of
people and animals. In earlier days people believed that a small pox epidemic
was the result of the anger of the Goddess Mariyamma.
Some Goddesses have small temples.
But she does not always have a temple. Sometimes a simple stone on the
border of a village suffices to represent the presence of the Goddess.
During a festival the statue of the Goddess is taken in procession through
the village. Instead of a statue, the Goddess is sometimes symbolically
represented by a jar decorated with flowers. A Kattaikkuttu performance
is an offer to the Goddess. At night a statue or decorated jar is placed
in front of the stage so that the Goddess can watch and enjoy the performance.
When she is not worshipped suitably, she can become very angry and bring disaster to a village. But
when she feels happy and well-attended the monsoon rains will be plenty.
Rain is essential for a good harvest and for the economy of the village.
When the monsoon fails and the fields lay barren, a Kattaikkuttu performance
may help to put the Goddess in a better mood. Many people believe that
a Kattaikkuttu performance will bring rain.