Posted November 16, 2008on:
Touching feet in respect
Footwear is not worn in the home and temple
Giving and receiving with both hands
Care in sitting
Hindu marriage symbols
Cows are revered
“Namaskaram” is the proper Hindu way to greet someone. The greeting is said with both hands clasped together.
|Touching feet in respect
Feet of holy men, teachers and elders are touched as a mark of respect. Respect for elders is a keystone in Hinduism.
|Footwear is not worn in the home and temple
Footwear is considered impure. It is also important to apologize when one touches someone with his or her shoe or sandal. The ultimate insult is to be hit with a shoe.
|Giving and receiving with both hands
Hindus are required to give and receive gifts with both hands. This is especially so when presenting offerings to a deity. The reason for this is that with the gift, prana (life force/ vital energy) is passed through the hands to the gift. The recipient receives it with both hands along with the prana from the gracious giver.
One does not sniff flowers picked for deity worship; even the scent is reserved for the Gods. Flowers which have fallen to the ground are not offered.
|Care in sitting
It is considered improper to sit with one’s legs outstretched in front of a temple, shrine or altar, or even toward another person. This is considered disrespectful.
Conversations are not held inside or through doorways. This is considered inauspicious. Likewise to exchange, give or lend an object, one steps inside the room first, or the recipient steps out of the room so that both persons are in the same room.
Offerings of food should not be tasted before placing in front of a deity. Only vegetarian foods, sweets, flowers, gold or silver, and prayer items are offered to deities.
The devout Hindu sets aside a small portion of food as a thanksgiving offering to God before beginning to eat. Food is traditionally served on a banana leaf. Food is consumed with fingers of the right hand. Cutlery is generally not used for eating food from a banana leaf. While eating, fingers are neither soiled above the second knuckle nor put into the mouth.
There are clear cut restrictions and rule son what food to serve for weddings, birth and death ceremonies. Hindu customs also specify various fasting days so that health restrictions can be easily imposed through tradition and religion. Many people observe fast on selected days of the week as a prayer to their favourite deity.
|Hindu marriage symbols
Married Hindu women can be identified by marriage symbols they wear. These include a thali (usually a gold pendant worn with a yellow string or gold chain), sindoor dot (red powder dot) they apply on their forehead, and / or toe ring worn on the second toe of both feet. Some married women apply the red sindoor powder along the parting of their hair.
|Cows are revered
Ancient Hindus took into account various factors concerning the commodity men used for consumption. First in order are vegetables: then fish, then the other animals. They prohibited slaughtering of cows for consumption. The reason is not far to seek. The cows are more useful alive than dead. It provides milk for babies and grown- ups alike: it ploughs fields for cultivating food: its urine has medicinal properties and the dung is used as manure for our crop as well as to light village fires. The smoke that emanates from it kills mosquitoes and other disease-carrying germs. It is small wonder then that the cow is worshipped by Hindus.