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Family Life: Compare and Contrast Cultures – Hinduism Essay

Hinduism is an old religion that is practiced in South Asia. It is the world’s third largest religion. It is based on the principles of Karma. Hinduism has many different traditions. Family life is a central to the Hindu culture. Hindu religion has for many centuries had a culture of joint family. This means all the members of the family stay in one house. This means the parents the male offspring and their offspring. The women stay with their family until their marriage and after marriage stay with the family of the husband. It isn’t uncommon for the family members to marry among themselves.

Child marriages were also common until the last couple of decades. The elder most male is usually the head of the family and no important decisions are taken without his consent. Arranged marriages are also common in Hindu society. In an arranged marriage it is the elders of a family who decide the bride or the groom for their children. Although earlier this was done without the consent of the bride, that culture is changing now. In today’s society the bride and the groom usually meet a few times and then come to a decision about whether they should marry.

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Even now it is usually the elders of the family who first find out about the prospective bride or groom and then introduce them to their children. Arranged marriages are fixed after looking in various aspects of the potential bride and groom like their education, wealth, social standing, caste and astrological compatibility. Dowry also constitutes a huge part of the Hindu marriage. Dowry is any gift of money or with monetary value that is given customarily to the groom by the family of the bride. This gift could be a vehicle, a house, jewelry, household items or plain cash.

Each family that is marrying off their daughter gives this gift based on what they can afford. This was a practice in early Hindu culture to ensure that not only the sons but also the daughters get a share of the parent’s wealth. But with time this practice was used by the family of the groom to extract as much financial assets from the family of the bride as possible. Although the practice of dowry is illegal in contemporary India it is still actively practiced. The Hindu culture also gave great importance to family life as a path to god.

According to Hindu scriptures a man who fulfills all his responsibilities towards his family breaks free from the cycle of rebirth and ascends to god. It is considered the duty or Dharma of a man to fulfill all the needs of his family and it only through the practice of this Dharma that man can attain god. A man who works for his family is said to be the equivalent of a saint who lives only for god. Christianity is a religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. It is the religion followed by the most number of people. It is a very diverse religion.

There are many different Christian family values. The bible, which is an important book for Christianity, emphasizes various values that are important for a Christian family life. Christianity emphasizes respecting all people. ‘ Love your neighbor as yourself’ it is said. This means having respect, affection, benevolence and good will for the one you love. “ Do onto others s you would have them do unto you” it is said. Humility is another concept in Christianity which is important is family life. Honesty is a virtue that is very important in the bible.

Forgiving others is also said to be an important virtue. Living a moral life is a very important concept that lays a central concept in the Christian family life.

References: “Dowry. ” Web. 30 Apr. 2010. . “Hindu Marriages And The Duties Of Husband And Wife In A Traditional Hindu Family. ” Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism and Other Resources. Web. 30 Apr. 2010. . “Living with Siva: Hindu Family Life. ” Kauai’s Hindu Monastery. Web. 30 Apr. 2010. . “What Does the Bible Say about Christian Values and Christian Living? ” Christian Bible Reference Site. Web. 01 May 2010. .

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