Oriya in India

Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2023
Kerry Olson  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Oriya
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 41,000
World Population: 42,200
Primary Language: Odia
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Hindu - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Many Hindu castes in East India speak the Odia language. One of them is the Oriya people. The Oriya use the Oriya script for written communication. The Oriya claim to be some of the earliest settlers in Odisha state. The Oriya caste has two subgroups, Bendatiya and Kalandi. Each subgroup is divided into several clans and lineages with associated surnames. Most Oriya live in the east central Indian state of Odisha. The Oriya participated in many rebellions against British colonial rule.

Many resources are available in Odia including a complete Bible, the JESUS Film and radio programs. There are few if any Oriya believers.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Oriya caste members marry only within their own group, but often marry across clans. Vermilion (red or scarlet pigment) and glass bangles (bracelets) are the symbols of married women.

Most Oriya are involved with farming and the production of livestock. They use irrigation, chemical fertilizers and insecticides. Educated Oriya have become prominent politicians, judges, reformers, artists, and athletes.

The Odia language has a rich literary tradition going back over a thousand years. The Oriya celebrate their culture and history with dances and songs.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The large majority of the Oriya practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. Hinduism is a catch-all phrase for the local religions of South Asia. The primary deity of the Oriya is Shiva, the destroyer god. At the popular level, Hindus worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. They 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 gods like Christians do. There are other Hindus who are much more philosophical, especially among the Brahmins.

Almost all Hindus participate in yearly celebrations like 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.

What Are Their Needs?

The Oriya must come to understand that Jesus Christ is not another guru or Hindu god. Jesus is the savior of the world. He alone can save the Oriya from their sins and give them eternal life.

Prayer Points

Pray Oriya believers will be led to sharing the gospel with their families and friends, leading to a movement.

Pray that many Oriya will be given a desire to know the creator God and will not be satisfied with the many Hindu gods.

Pray for the Lord to send out loving workers among the Oriya people.

Pray that the Lord will raise up a growing church among the Oriya in this decade.

Text Source:   Joshua Project