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It's hard to explain what being a Hindu is all about...it's not easy to sum it up in, like a list of points. There are lots of Hindu festivals, and we have meetings at the temple and do special things. At Holi we light a bonfire at our temple, and at Diwali we give each other presents, like at Christmas really, and we have fireworks - it's called the festival of lights. At Holi everyone gets together in a hall or something and we dance for ages.

There are prayers we learn when we're little and we say them to ourselves a lot, and when we go up to one of the statues of the gods and give them an offering of some food and think about religious things. That's called puja.

We have like a little holy place at home, a shrine, where we keep water from India and pictures of some of the gods. Some people have little statues of the gods as well, and different families kind of prefer different gods (some people say they're different forms of the same god). We have little ceremonies in front of the shrine and I say my prayers to it (this is also called puja).

Some of the prayers are in an old language, but the important thing is to say them right, because God understands them.

We have lots of gods, and they sort of have different special qualities. Sometimes you pray to a particular one if you want something they have control over. Some people have a favourite god and mainly pray to that one. They have names like Krishna, Vishnu, Ganesh and Parvati.

Food is important, there are lots of really complicated rules about food, like you have to eat it with your right hand, you mustn't let other people's food touch yours, you mustn't eat beef (that's really important). I think that's because we believe we might be reborn as an animal if we don't live a good life, and cows are special because they give us milk. We aren't supposed to drink alcohol or anything.

There are some days of the week when we can't eat some things (like eggs on Tuesdays) and we often have fasts or special days when we can only eat certain things. These days are really good because lots of cousins and aunts come round and we do special things, like sing and watch films together.


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