Saturday, March 8, 2014

April Dialogue: Celebrating with the Hindu Community (4/3)

The next BIC dialogue will be held at 6:30 pm on Thursday, April 3, in the Cooper Room of the Brookings Public Library. It will be hosted by the Hindu community, whose members invite the public to celebrate with them the birthday of Lord Rama as well as New Year 2071, both of which fall around this time.

Members of the Hindu community will describe the significance of these holidays and also answer questions about their faith. The discussion will take place after a vegetarian meal they have prepared.

Dr. Chandradhar Dwivedi, priest of the local Hindu community and member of the BIC planning team, explains that "Lord Rama was the seventh incarnation (or avatar) of Lord Vishnu, the God for preservation in the Hindu Trinity. Lord Vishnu incarnated as Rama to destroy the demon Ravan and his evil forces at that time."

Hindus worship for eight days leading up to Lord Rama's birthday, known as Ramanavami. They then celebrate Ramanavami with special festivities "on the ninth day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu month Chaitra" (March-April).

On April 3 BIC will also help celebrate the Hindu New Year, which is based on the lunar calendar Vikram Samvat. That calendar was established in 57 BCE by King Vikramaditya of Ujjain. Though there are regional differences within India, many Hindus mark the start of the New Year "on the first day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu month Chaitra" (March-April).

Vikram Samvat 2071 will be March 31, 2014, on the Western calendar.

Both of these celebrations--Ramanavami and the Hindu New Year--are usually observed with special prayers and feasting with family, relatives and friends.

Please share in this auspicious celebration and learn more about the Hindu faith. Once again, a vegetarian meal will be provided by the Hindu community. Bring your good will, kindly heart, listening ears, and questions!