World Religions Avi K

What i believe essay

I was born in America, but moved to Singapore when I was two years old. I am a 12 year old boy and go to Singapore American School. My favorite subjects are Math and PE, and I play basketball and tennis. My parents and my older brother are all from India, and they lived there for most of their childhood, unlike me.

When asked where I am from, the answer is straightforward; America. But my cultural heritage came through my parents, as they are both Hindu. There are many hindu festivals that I celebrate, including Holi and Deepavali. I am vegetarian, choosing not to eat meat to not only preserve animal life, but also to please the Hindu god. God. Singular. Many people believe that there are many hindu gods that represent many aspects of our current world. But I believe that there is one god that takes many different incarnations at once, and that he/she represents the all of the Earth’s happenings. But I'm not a strong believer. I only occasionally go to temples, and when I do, I admire the culture and the time spent by the devotees to honor the gods. मैं हिन्दी भी सीखता है, और मुझे लगता हिन्दी हिन्दू का भाषा है(I also learn Hindi, arguably the language of Hinduism.)

However, the deeper I think about my religion, the more I realise I am somewhat atheist. This is because I know that god doesn’t control everything. Science does. The world revolving, rain, natural disasters, and death is all controlled by the principles of science. Sure, I still participate in Hindu practices and I still believe in supernatural beings, but I believe that we created God in our minds. We wanted an explanation for the world’s phenomenons, so we created an all powerful being that caused it. I also think that being atheist brings you a very diverse and open view at life.

There are many characteristics and key beliefs that are important to me. I believe in yin-yang, that the universe is filled with two forces: good and bad, and that they will never be complete without the other. I believe that everyone should be treated equal, no matter their race, culture, skin color, disabilities, etc. People should have the right to be judged by what they think, and not how they look, because, for example, just because you are Muslim, it doesn’t mean that you are a terrorist, . I believe in exercise, that in order to think optimistic and be healthy, you have to be confident in your abilities and in your body. If you dislike your appearance, your self esteem won’t be high, lowering your mindset, overall happiness, and your confidence in yourself. Finally, I believe in respecting your peers. They have their own cultural practices and heritage, and it isn't our duty to tell them what to worship or what to not. Instead, you should.

All in all, I am half American and half Indian. I’m mostly Hindu and a little atheist. I’m diverse and I’m proud of it.


Hindu Temples

What goes on in a Hindu Temple?

  • What are the different rituals that are performed?
  • Which gods are worshipped during the ceremonies?
  • How do they perform the rituals?

What are the different rituals that are performed?

There are many different rituals that are performed in a temple. A religious ritual is called puja. They use images / sculptures of deities called murtis. Since there are many deities, there are many different prayers and murtis for each religious ceremony. Most of the prayers and pujas revolve around the shrine. The mantras, or the prayers, are then said by the sages, priests, there. Then there are the yantras, which are depictions of the universe. Some examples are folding your hands when praying, or the altar's structure. But there are 3 main types of worship: Nitya is a daily puja. Hindus can perform this at a temple, or at a home shrine. Naimttika has many holy rituals that are said on religious / holy days. Finally, Kamya is many optional deep acts of faith that Hindus try to accomplish. Not all Kamya rituals are located in temples.

Hindus Praying

Which gods are worshipped during ceremonies?

Normally, temples start by worshipping Ganesha before starting any other rituals. This is because they believe that Ganesha will protect them during the prayer and make sure all is well till the end. For the main prayers, many temples have a patron deity, like in Ancient Greece. If the temple is for Shiva, most of the prayers will revolve around him. However, the temples contain shrines with the other gods, so when the ceremonies are over, the devotees go to visit the other shrines and pray on their own. There are a few main gods that are worshipped no matter the temple's patron god, like Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva.

Hindu Idols for Durga

How do they perform the rituals?

There are many ways to perform rituals that honour the gods. For example, you have the Ganapathy Puja, Maha Lakshmi Puja, Durga Puja, Saraswathi Puja, etc. They all have different purposes too. The Durga puja is one of the greatest Hindu festivals where you worship the divine mother, or Durga. The Maha Lakshmi puja is performed because it attracts fortune and wisdom, and Lakshmi is the deity of wealth. The Ganapathy puja is performed before any other pujas are performed. This is because Ganapathy is a strong and valiant soldier, and will protect you during the other pujas.

Below is a video about the architecture of Hindu Temples.

Image Credits:


Hindus Praying


Vesak Day

What is Vesak Day?

  • Why is it celebrated?
  • What are some traditions that are performed on Vesak Day?

Vesak day is a holiday that is celebrated by Buddhists. It represents the birth, the nirvana (enlightenment), and the parinivana (death) of the Buddha. Vesak day is normally in May, or on the 15th day in the fourth month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. It is a day when people wake up at the brink of dawn and sing prayers or hymns in praise of the Buddha, the Dharma, which were his teachings, and the Sangha, or Buddha's disciples. Buddhists do this to earn good karma and to practice some of the teachings of the Buddha, like love, peace, and harmony.

Monks Lining Up to Receive Alms(gifts)

|Source| |Source|

|Image Source|

There are many different rituals that are performed during Vesak Day. One of them is called the 'three step - one bow'. This is a ritual that is normally performed in Mahayana Buddhist temples. The devotee goes onto his/her knees and climbs the steps of the temple. After the devotee climbs three steps, he/she prays for peace and enlightenment. Fun fact: this ritual can go on for two hours! Another ritual that is performed during Vesak day is the popular 'bathing of the Buddha'. To 'bathe the Buddha' is to pour scented, blessed water over an image of the prince as a child, otherwise known as the 'Baby Buddha'. The young Buddha is depicted with his right forefinger pointing up, and his left pointing down. It is said that the prince's image embodies the enlightened presence of the Buddha.

A Mahayana Buddhist Temple


|Image Source|

Below is a video of another ritual called the candle-lit ritual that is also performed on Vesak Day.



Why is Hanukkah an important Jewish holiday?

  • Why is Hanukkah celebrated?
  • What are some significant obejcts used during Hanukkah?
  • What are some prayers performed in a synagogue during Hanukkah?

Hanukkah is celebrated to remember the defeat over the Greek and the reviving of the temple of Jerusalem. In 165 BCE, the land of Judah was ruled by Antiochus, a Greek King. The king ordered the Jews living in Judah to give up their beliefs in Judaism and worship Greek Gods. The Greek soldiers also forced them to bow in front of an idol of a Greek God and eat the pork, or the meat of a pig. This was strictly against the Jewish Law (10 Commandments). The jews, angry at the king, rebelled against the Greeks. For 20 years, the Jews fought the Greeks and eventually drove the Greeks out of Jerusalem, which became the reason why Hanukah is celebrated.

A Jewish Candle Holder (Menorah)


|Image Source|

There are many different objects that symbolise different things in Hanukkah. One of them is a menorah. A menorah is a Hebrew word meaning candelabrum, which refers to the nine branched ceremonial lamp in which candles are placed and lit during Hanukkah. There are eight days in the holiday, hence the side eight holders. The middle branch holds the shamash, or helper candle that is used to light the other candles on the menorah. The menorah stands for light, wisdom, and divine inspiration. Another symbol is a dreidel. A dreidel, translated to 'spinning top' from German, is the toy used in a Hanukkah game. Hanukkah is one of the few holidays in which rabbis permitted games of chance, or gambling. Players place coins of chocolate money known as gelt in a bowl. They then roll the dreidel to determine who get's the items in the bowl.


Here is a video on how to play dreidel:

There are many different customs and rituals that are performed in a synagogue during Hanukkah. Normally during Hanukkah, rabbis will recite passages from the holy books, such as the Torah, the Talmud, the Hebrew Bible, etc. Sometimes, Jews will recited the al hanissim passage - meaning 'for the miracles' - the Amidah - which is the central prayer in worship - and the Birkat HaMazon - which is the blessing after meals. These can be recited either at home or at a synagogue.

A Jewish Synagogue in the Czech Republic

|Image Source|



What happens inside a Christian church?

  • What are the different types of churches?
  • What are the different roles in a church?
  • Why do Christians go to church?

What are the different types of churches?

There are many different types of Christian churches. For example, there is the Baptist church, the Orthodox church, the Catholic church, and many more. The main differences between the many churches is that they have different interpretations of the Bible and therefore teach different values - although all of the churches revolve around the Holy Bible. There are also many smaller, but equally important differences. Let's take the Roman Catholic Church for example. This church is one of the most prominent in the world, accounting for approximately one sixth of the world's population and over 75% of American Christians. The church is headed by the Pope, and their mission includes trying to spread the gospel of Jesus, and exercising charity. Another type of church is an Orthodox Church. This church is the second largest communion in the world, with about 225 million people worldwide. The mission of this type of church is to bring yourself closer to God. This process is called theosis. You start as a child, and strive to become more "Christ like" throughout your life by following the teachings of Christ.

Church in Russia

|Image Source|

What are the different roles in a church?

There are a few different roles in a church, including the pope, cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons, and the community of baptised catholics. The pope is the head of the Catholic Church. He leads all the bishops and archbishops. The pope is chosen through an election. Then there are the cardinals. They are the bishops or archbishops that are eligible to become the next pope. They are appointed by the pope himself. The bishops are the ones who oversee a diocese - a geographical area over which a bishop governs - as its chief pastor. Archbishops govern the bishops of a nearby area. Then, there are the priests. A priest runs a church and helps the bishop. Next, there are the deacons. Deacons help the priest or the bishop to conduct many rituals. There are a few different types of deacons. A transitional deacon is one who is on his way to becoming a priest. A permanent deacon is one who will remain a deacon for life because her or she is married. Finally, the Christian community is the most important part of any church, as they are the life and blood of all churches.

Priest standing next to a cross

|Image Source|

Why do Christians go to church?

Christians go to church for many different reasons. A main one is that it is their duty. In the Bible, it is said that christians need one another to encourage each other and to pray for each other. Christians believe that they should do something they can't do as a non-assembling Christian sitting at home. A verse in the Hebrews reads, "If you have neglected to assemble together with the Body of Christ, I would ask you my brother of sister in Christ, show me chapter and verse where it says we don’t have to church or that the church is no longer necessary." In conclusion, as Paul the missionary once wrote, if you don't assemble with the body of Christ, examine yourselves to see whether you are in faith. Church is required by Christians, or you will not have the spirit of Jesus inside of you, and not be considered a true Christian.

Here is an explanation about what a church really is for kids.

|Video Source|


What is Ramadan?

What is Ramadan?

  • How was Ramadan started?
  • How is it celebrated?
  • Why is Ramadan important to Muslims?

How is it celebrated?

Ramadan is celebrate on the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. Since the Muslim calendar follows a lunar year, which means that a new month begins every new moon, the Islamic year is shorter than a Western year, so the date that Ramadan starts varies. For around 30 days, Muslims fast, or don't eat, during the day. At night, or before the sun rises in the morning, Muslims are allowed to eat. The month of Ramadan is a spiritual month, so Muslims strive to be a bit more religious. They try not to consume alcohol, and spend some time reading the Qur'an. Some muslims also go to a mosque to pray. They only use basic necessities and live as simply as possible. At the end of the 30 days of fasting, Muslims celebrate a large festival called Eid ul-Fitr, in which Muslims feast to make up for the fasting they did during the month of Ramadan.

Mosque in Moscow

|Image Source|

Source: "Islam" by Sue Penney

Why do Muslims participate in Ramadan?

Muslims fast for many reasons. One of the main reasons is because Muhammad taught his disciples that fasting is important, because it shows that they have given in to Allah, the only god. It shows that Allah is the most important part of your life. Since both the rich and the poor can feel hunger, it reminds them that everyone is equal to Allah. But some Muslims don't participate in Ramadan because fasting is difficult - especially in hot and humid climates. Children and the elderly are not expected to fast as it could be too hard sometimes, but children start fasting at the age of 7.

Prayers during Eid ul-Fitr

|Image Source|


What happens if a Muslim doesn't participate in Ramadan?

Muslims don't get punished if they do not fast. Muslims believe that Allah is the judge of anyone's behaviour. Muslims also believe that Allah will give people what they at the end of the world. This is known as the Day of Judgement. On this day, Allah will decide whether you should be rewarded for your devotion to Islam, or if you should be punished for not fasting or for not following one of his teachings. So if a Muslim fasts successfully, they earn the joy of eating again afterward, and the reward of Allah.


Here is a video that explains the festival after Ramadan:


Created with images by nevil zaveri ( thank you for 10 million+ views : ) - "hands, bhaat" • Devanath - "durga india travel" • Prayitno / Thank you for (12 millions +) view - "Byodo-In Temple" • Hermitianta P. Putra - "Vesak Day" • Justin.Raycraft - "Sewu Temple, Indonesia" • TuendeBede - "jewish star judaism star" • kevindvt - "candles menorah light" • < J > - "Methodist Church" • Profotos-de - "nice basilica russian basilica tourist attraction attraction" • Greg Hayter - "priest" • aditya_wicak - "buildings mosque sunset silhouette indonesia semarang" • xusenru - "moscow cathedral mosque prospekt mira ramadan sky"

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.