DeepaRaya – the most secular holiday?

The festival season has started in India (and Southeast Asia).  This year Dassera is on October 14th, followed by Diwali on November 2nd, which brings us close to the end of the year(?).  In Singapore around this time of the year, retailers start advertising ‘DeepaRaya’ specials.  DeepaRaya is a combination of Deepavali (also known as Diwali) and Hari Raya (also know as Id – English pronounciation – eedh).  Despite any claims by Indians about inclusiveness to other relegions, a word created out of the combination of Diwali and Id would start a holy war in most of the world.  Does that mean Singapore/Malaysia/Indonesia are the most secular nations?  I am not so sure.  I think a few sales guys came up with this name and it stuck.

I created a visualization of the Hindu population in the countries of the world.  Also take a look at my previous post on Muslim population in the world (I’ll combine the two soon).

Note

  1. These numbers are from factbook and may not be current.  However, I think they are sufficiently representative.
  2. In some cases, factbook did not report the number of Hindus, e.g., in the U.S.  Given the number of Indians in the U.S., this is obviously incorrect.
  3. In some countries, hindus were grouped with other relegions.  I have chosen a number from the range arbitrarily.

Click on the image to view the actual visualization.

hindus

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