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Hinduism in Guyana

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hinduism is the religion of 24.8% of the population of Guyana.[1] Guyana has the highest percentage of Hindus in the Western Hemisphere.[2]

Central Vaidik Mandir, Georgetown, Guyana..jpg

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After the 1833 Slavery Abolition Act in the British Empire, the need for labor led to the recruitment of Indians in Guyana and other British West Indian territories. Upon arrival, the new workers had to adapt to the extreme tropical conditions, along with their new contracts and working conditions. Between 1835 and 1918, 341,600 indentured laborers were imported into British Guyana from India.[3]

From 1852, Christian missionaries attempted to convert East Indians during the indenture period, but this met with little success. When Christian missionaries started proselytizing, Brahmins started administering spiritual rites to all Hindus regardless of caste. This led to the breakdown of the caste system there.

In the late 1940s, reform movements caught the attention of many Guyanese Hindus. In 1910, Arya Samaj arrived in Guyana. Samaj's doctrine rejects the idea of caste and the exclusive role of Brahmins as religious leaders. The movement preaches monotheism and opposition to the use of images in worship as well as many traditional Hindu rituals. After the 1930s, Hindu conversions to Christianity slowed because the status of Hinduism improved and discrimination against Hindus diminished.

Arya Samaj followers often did not get along with Sanātanīs (orthodox Hindus). The salience of these differences ebbed.[4]


Hinduism has been decreasing for many decades. In 1991, 35.0% of the Guyanese population adhered to Hinduism, decreasing to 28.4% in 2002[5] and to 24.8% in 2012.[1]

Year Percent Decrease
1991 35.0%
2002 28.4% -6.6%
2012 24.8% -3.6%

Geographical distribution of Hindus

Region Percent of Hindus (2002) Percent of Hindus (2012)
Barima-Waini 8.1% Decrease 0.4%
Pomeroon-Supenaam 37.3% Decrease 33.2%
Essequibo Islands-West Demerara 46.5% Decrease 37.7%
Demerara-Mahaica 24.4% Decrease 20.8%
Mahaica-Berbice 39.0% Decrease 34.1%
East Berbice-Corentyne 46.4% Decrease 42.1%
Cuyuni-Mazaruni 5.6% Decrease 3.5%
Potaro-Siparuni 6.4% Decrease 1.0%
Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo 0.5% Decrease 0.4%
Upper Demerara-Berbice 4.7% Decrease 0.8%
Guyana 28.4% Decrease 24.8%

Tamil (Madrasi) Hindus forms the majority in East Berbice-Corentyne region.[6]

Although 39.8% of the Guyana's population is East Indian, only 24.8% are Hindus.[1] The remainder is mostly Muslim  (6.8%) or Christian.

Public Holidays

Holi-Phagwah and Deepavali are National Holidays in Guyana.[7]


See also


  1. ^ a b c "Organization" (PDF).
  2. ^ "Percent Hindu - country rankings". the Global Economy. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  3. ^ Despres, Leo, "Differential Adaptions and Micro-Cultural Evolution in Guyana," Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, 25:1, 22.
  4. ^ "Hindus of South America". Retrieved 2018-11-03.
  5. ^ "Chapter Ii" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-11-03.
  6. ^ Stephanides, Stephanos; Singh, Karna Bahadur (3 November 2018). Translating Kali's Feast: The Goddess in Indo-Caribbean Ritual and Fiction. Rodopi. ISBN 978-9042013711 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ "Guyana".
This page was last edited on 6 May 2019, at 16:20
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