Ethnicity Online

Cultural Awareness in Healthcare

Hindus: Religious Observance

Every day, Hindus practise the ritual of puja to remind them of their duties to their gods. A statue of the family deity is placed in a sacred corner and offered flowers, fruits, cooked food (bhog) and sometimes incense and light. Sometimes a mantra may be sung or chanted. The blessed food (prasada) is eaten at the end of the ritual. It is believed that this ritual brings Hindus closer to their family god.

Hindus pray in temples and at home, where a room may be set aside for such worship. In hospital, Hindu patients will appreciate being offered a quiet area in which to pray. Patients may also wish to have statues or pictures of gods at their bedside: such items must be treated with great care and respect.

Some large organisations are able to make prayer or meditation rooms available to staff. As such facilities are likely to be used by people of different faiths, individuals should be requested not to leave any of their religious items in the room. Line managers may agree to let staff pray at regular times, if their absence does not cause a problem.

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