Hi all! I hope everyone’s having a great start to the year now that 2018 is finally settling in – and temperatures are finally rising a bit!
Since we just got home from a long weekend drive back from Minnesota, this week’s post is a short one! I wanted to address something that a lot of my readers already know, but that I still think is important to discuss so that we’re all on the same page. That “something” is the difference between “Hindi” and “Hindu”.
I often hear conversations and see Facebook posts where wedding ceremonies are referred to as “Hindi” and people listen to conversations in “Hindu”, both of which are incorrect. I’m a true Minnesotan at heart, so instead of correcting these people directly, I decided to write a blog about it 🙂
If you’re someone who doesn’t know the difference, that’s okay! A lot of people don’t, and that’s exactly why I’m writing this! Hopefully this post clears it up for you. If you’re someone who already knows Hindi from Hindu, maybe this post is something you can share with friends and family who may not know the difference.
The most important thing to remember is that even though the words are very similar, they mean different things and are not interchangeable.
Hindi refers to the language. Hindi derives from Sanskrit, and is spoken in many parts (but not all) of India, some countries in Oceania, United Kingdom, United States, and more. Worldwide, there are nearly half a billion speakers.
Hindu refers to the religion. Hinduism is one of the four major world religions, with about 1.15 billion followers worldwide. Hinduism is a polytheistic religion, meaning that followers worship thousands of different gods (versus monotheistic religions like Christianity, Judaism, and Islam that only follow one god).
It’s true that there are lots of Hindus that speak Hindi, but there are also many that don’t. On the other hand, there are many Hindi speakers that practice Hinduism, but certainly not all of them do.
I wish I had some sort of mnemonic device to help you remember which is which, but unfortunately I can’t think of anything! I suppose adding “ism” to the end will help figure out which is a religion, but that’s the best I got.
At the end of the day, it may be worth it to simply commit the difference to memory. No one will misunderstand you if you mix up the words, but using them correctly demonstrates respect and goes a long way in promoting cultural understanding and exchange. And that’s never a bad thing 🙂
Do you have an easy way of remembering the difference between Hindi and Hindu? I’d love to hear it!
See you next week,