Animism is a very traditional world belief system, practiced by South Asians. The British anthropologist Sir Edward B. Tylor developed the concept of animism in the late 19th century. There are two main beliefs of Animism. All things, living or not, have a spirit. Ancestors are a link between the present word and the spiritual world. They call on them for help, and make sacrifices to make them happy. The communities who practice Animism usually demonstrate great respect and understanding of nature, and show great reverence for ancestors who have passed on. The name Animism comes from the Latin word animus which means "soul" or "life".


Hinduism began in India. A main belief is that Brahman is the universal spirit. Shiva is the destroyer and Vishnu is the preserver. These are all gods. Hindus use hundreds of gods to help identify with all the roles of Brahman. The Holy book of Hinduism is called the Vedas. The affect on the culture is that the people who practice Hinduism try to lead a good life (as in their thoughts and behavior in order to keep moving forward). Some famous people who practice Hinduism include George Harrison, Julia Roberts and Russell Brand.


Shintoism originated in Japan. It is believed that the spirits of "Kami" exist in all things including the Emperor (god). Shinto's have a great respect for the natural world.

Origami is a Japanese folk art. If you go to a Shinto shrine, you will often find these beautiful and ornate paper foldings around it. Since the tree kami gave life for the paper to be created, Origami paper is never cut.


Buddhism was created in India by Mahatma Budh.It moved out of India to Southeast Asia, China, Korea and Japan. The belief of Buddhism is that everyone suffers. People suffer because they have desires. In order to end suffering you must end your desires by following the Eight Fold Path.

Buddha was not a fat man - his lifestyle of moderation in eating and walking about teaching would have made him fit not fat.

A Buddhist should eat whatever food is given to him, but should never ask for an animal to be slaughtered for his meal.


Christianity originated the Middle East. The main belief is that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. The Bible is the Holy book of Christianity. It is the best selling book in the world. Christianity has the most people practicing it throughout the world. Christianity won many converts because of its simple rules.

Christian Holidays include:

Advent (Nov. 30 - Dec. 24)
Christmas (Dec. 25)
Epiphany (Jan. 6)
Lent (40-day period prior to Easter)
Good Friday(last Friday before Easter)
Easter (date varies)
All Saint's Day (Nov. 1)


Taoism originated in China. The Holy Book is the Tao Te Ching. The main beliefs are that you should follow the way of nature and accept the things you cannot change. Taoists don't challenge the natural process, and accept things as they come. A common symbol of Taoism is the Ying Yang sign. If the Tao is in balance it is possible to find perfect happiness.


Confucianism, created by Confucius, originated in China. The Holy Book is the Analects. The main belief is that people need to accept their role in society. Confucianist's have a great deal of respect for parents, elders, country.

The teachings of Confucius were written down by his students and were compiled in the Sishu or Four Books which were studied by Chinese for 24 hundred years.

Confucius is well remembered for his Golden Rule, "What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others".


Originated in the Middle East. Islam is Monotheistic. The main belief is to follow Allah in all things.

"Allah" is an Arabic word that means "God". Muslims also believe that "Allah" is the personal name of God

Mohammad is the Messiah who spreads the word of God. Islamic laws are very important and the often become the political laws of the nations. The word "Islam" means "Peace through the submission to God"

The Qur'an is their Holy Book. The Qur'an was not authored by Muhammad. It was authored by God, revealed to Muhammad, and written into physical form by his companions.


Judaism originated in the Middle East. It is a monotheistic religion. The Holy Book is the Torah, which is the first 5 books of the Old Testament. The main belief is that God will send a Messiah one day. People practicing Judaism try to follow God's laws (The 10 Commandments) so the Messiah will come. The spiritual leader is called a Rabbi and the place of worship is in synagogues.

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