Introduction / History
The Gawaria were traditionally a Hindu nomadic people who raised sheep and goats. Today most have settled down and live in the northwestern Indian state of Gujarat. Their literacy level is very low. There are no known believers among the Gawaria. The primary language of the Gawaria is Hindi. They also speak the local languages where they live.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Gawaria were shepherds, traveling traders and carriers. They became traders after their land was no longer able to sustain agriculture or grazing. They used herds of bullocks and oxen to carry their goods for trade. However, with the advancement in the transportation industry, they have turned to other professions. Some make household articles from cane or wild grass and weave mats. Others work in the building trades especially in masonry. The Gawaria marry within their group but outside of their clan. The bride’s family pay a dowry at the time of the wedding. The couple often goes to live with the groom's family. The bride and groom circle a sacred fire seven times during the wedding. Brahmin priests officiate at weddings. Divorce and remarriage are permitted, but only with the consent of the community caste council. The naming ceremony for a newborn is performed by a Brahmin priest on the seventh or ninth day after birth. Inheritance is equally divided among sons and the eldest takes over the guidance of the family in place of the father. As Hindus, the Gawaria do not eat beef.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Gawaria practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works that they will attain moksha or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The Gawaria visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hopes of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their god as Christians do. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. The main yearly holidays of the Gawaria people are Holi, the festival of colors and the start of spring, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn and Rama Navami, Rama’s birthday. The caste system divides Hindus into four main categories - Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and the Shudras. Dalits and tribal peoples are outside of the caste system. The Gawaria fit in the Shudra or working caste.
* Scripture Prayers for the Gawaria in India.
* Pray for workers to take the gospel message to the Gawaria community. * Pray the Lord will prepare the hearts of the Gawaria to understand and to believe the gospel. * Pray that Gawaria parents are able to provide for their children.