November in Canada is now national Hindu Heritage Month. Here's everything we know.
What is Hindu Heritage Month? As a way of acknowledging the contributions of the Hindu community to Canada's growth over the years, the country has for the first time officially celebrated the month of November as "Hindu Heritage Month."
Who has taken the lead in this? The initiative was taken by Chandra Arya, a Member of Parliament belonging to the ruling Liberal Party, when in May earlier this year, he moved a private members motion to mark November as the Hindu Heritage Month. This was unanimously passed in the House of Commons on 29 September.
Arya tweeted on 1 November, "Today I marked the historic beginning of Canada’s national Hindu Heritage Month by raising a flag with Hindu sacred symbol Aum on Parliament Hill. HHM provides an opportunity to recognise the contributions of 830,000 Hindu-Canadians to our country & of Hindu Heritage to mankind."
How many Hindus are there in Canada? According to the 2021 Census, there are 8,28,195 Hindus in Canada, which is around three times more than the 2,97,200 recorded in the 2001 census.
What are other MPs saying? Anita Anand, MP and Minister of National Defence, who is Hindu herself, tweeted, "This November marks the first federally recognised Hindu Heritage Month. Canada is home to over 830,000 Hindus who make immense contributions to the fabric of our country. I wish you all a Happy Hindu Heritage Month!"
Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion said in a statement, "This is a moment to acknowledge the… positive impact of the community can be seen in all aspects of our society."
What is the controversy regarding Hindu Heritage Month? According to Baaz News, a portal that reports on the Sikh and Punjabi diaspora, the Canadian government "has received complaints that the flag unfurled at Parliament Hill for Hindu Heritage Month is the RSS(Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh)-adopted Bhagwa Dhwaj and logo."
Canada's Other Faith-Based Celebrations? Canada also celebrates April as Sikh Heritage Month, May as Canadian Jewish Heritage Month, and October as Canadian Islamic History Month.
Which other countries celebrate Hindu Heritage Month? The United States last year established that states will mark the month of October as Hindu Heritage Month. The state of Virginia in August earlier this year became first toofficially declare October as Hindu Heritage month.