Halwai (Hindu traditions) in Bangladesh

Largest Religion
Main Language
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Halwai are a caste of sweet makers and confectioners. The name Halwai comes from the Hindi word "Halwa" which is a sweet. They have respect in Hindu communities. Because of the importance sweets have in religion and socially, they have a special position in festivals and childbirths and marriages.

Where Are they Located?

The Halwai live mainly in India's northern states, but they also live further east in Bangladesh, a Muslim country.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Most of the Halwai are comfortable financially and some are wealthy, particularly in the cities and towns. Halwai owned sweetshops are located in the towns and bazaars of north India and Bangladesh. Some of the Halwai do government and private work. Some work in agriculture. There are a few doctors and engineers among them. They are mainly vegetarians, eating wheat, rice, fruit, and vegetables. They like milk and dairy produce but not alcohol. They educate both boys and girls.
The Halwai are endogamous, which means they do not marry outside of the group. They believe in monogamy, so marriage is between one man and one woman. They permit divorce, and divorcees and the bereaved can marry again. The bride's family must give the groom's family a dowry. Property is given equally to the sons, though the oldest son has the highest status in the home. Younger men often move away to begin a business.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Halwai are mainly Hindu and worship all the main Hindu gods such as Shiva, Rama, Krishna, and Ganesh. A Brahmin priest does birth, marriage, and death ceremonies for them. When a Halwai person dies their body is cremated and the ashes are immersed in a river with the Ganges being the favorite. They observe post delivery childbirth pollution and death pollution for a given period of time. They do Hindu pilgrimages. The Halwai celebrate all the main Hindu festivals such as Holi and Diwali, many of which involve giving and eating sweets—which is very good for business!

Prayer Points

* Pray that the risen Christ will reveal Himself to the Halwai people this year during their festivals so that many will put their faith in Him rather than in Hindu gods. Ask the Holy Spirit to show them their need for the holiness available only through Christ.
* Pray for a church planting movement among the Halwai people in Bangladesh and India.
* Pray for the Lord to raise up hundreds of Halwai people who will give up their wealth and prestige to follow the King of kings.



Profile Source:   Global Prayer Digest 

People Name General Halwai (Hindu traditions)
People Name in Country Halwai (Hindu traditions)
Population in Bangladesh 78,000
World Population 1,574,000
Total Countries 3
Indigenous Yes
Unreached Yes
Progress Scale 1
Alternate Names Bhanti, Haluwai, Halwai, Madak, Maira, Mayara, Mehtar, Methaiwale, Modak, Modhunapit, हलवाई (हिंदू ट्रेडिशन्स)
People ID 16905
ROP3 Code 112199
Country Bangladesh
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 35  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file: 7
Largest States
Rangpur (34,000) Dhaka (19,000) Khulna (12,000)
Rajshahi (7,300) Chittagong (3,500) Sylhet (1,900)
Barisal (600)
Country Bangladesh
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 35  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file: 7
Rangpur (34,000) Dhaka (19,000)
Khulna (12,000) Rajshahi (7,300)
Chittagong (3,500) Sylhet (1,900)
Barisal (600)
Primary Language: Bengali (67,000 speakers)   (People group listing)
Language Code: ben   Ethnologue Listing
Written: Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages: 3
Secondary Languages:
Sylheti (1,500) Chittagonian (100)
Primary Language: Bengali (67,000 speakers)   People group listing
Language Code: ben   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 3
Secondary Languages:
Sylheti (1,500) Chittagonian (100)
Primary Language: Bengali

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1800-1980)
New Testament Yes   (1801-1984)
Complete Bible Yes   (1809-2000)
Audio Bible Online
Possible Print Bibles
Forum of Bible Agencies
Gospel Go
World Bible Finder
World Bibles
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Bengali Bible stories
Audio Recordings Online New Testament - Bangla Version (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament - Mussolmani Version (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament- Common Version (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online Scripture (Talking Bibles)
Audio Recordings Oral Bible stories in Bengali
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Following Jesus (India, JF Project)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video I Am Guilty (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Bengali
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Rivka (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Film / Video The Burning Heart (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video The Prophets Story (Indigitube.tv)
General Bible Visuals
General Four Spiritual Laws
Primary Religion: Hinduism

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
Other Christian
Roman Catholic
Photo Source: India Missions Association   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Omid / Joshua Project / Global Mapping Intl  
Profile Source: Global Prayer Digest 
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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