2BIRTHWhen a baby is born into a Hindu family it is often welcomed with a ceremony in which some honey is put in the child's mouth and the name of God is whispered in the child's ear.
3BIRTHTen to twelve days after the birth, the priest announces the baby's name and prayers are said. Ear-piercing and first haircut ceremonies are also considered highly significant.
4GROWING UP: UPANAYANAIn some Hindu families the Sacred Thread ceremony (Upanayana) is performed when a boy is around the age of 8.He is given three strands of the sacred thread – worn over his left shoulder - which represent three promises (vows) he makes: to respect the knowledge, the parents and the society.
5GROWING UP: UPANAYANAIn the ancient categorization of society associated with the Vedas (caste system), only the three highest groups (“twice-born”) perform this ceremony: Brahmins, Kshatriya and Vaishya.Video of Upanayana:
6MARRIAGEThe betrothal of the young couple (engagement) and the exact date and time of the wedding are matters decided by the parents in consultation with astrologers.At Hindu weddings, the bride and bridegroom represent the god and the goddess, although there is a parallel tradition that sees the groom as a prince coming to wed his princess.
7MARRIAGEHindu wedding ceremonies vary from region to region and often take several hours to complete.During the ceremony marriage vows or promises are made around a sacred fire. The couple walk around the sacred fire four times.At the end of a Hindu wedding ceremony, the bride and groom take seven steps together around the sacred fire. For each step they share a promise or a hope. Each promise or hope is about something they believe is really important and will help them have a happy marriage.The couple are blessed by the elders and the priest.
8DEATH & FUNERALAfter the death of a family member, the relatives become involved in ceremonies for preparation of the body and a procession to the burning or burial ground.For most Hindus, cremation is the ideal method for dealing with the dead, although many groups practice burial instead; infants are buried rather than cremated. At the funeral site, in the presence of the male mourners, the closest relative of the deceased (usually the eldest son) takes charge of the final rite, if it is cremation, and lights the funeral pyre.
9DEATH & FUNERALAfter a cremation, ashes and fragments of bone are collected and eventually immersed in a holy river. After a funeral, everyone undergoes a purifying bath. The immediate family remains in a state of intense pollution for a set number of days (10,11, or 13)At the end of the period, close family members meet for a ceremonial meal and often give gifts to the poor or to charities