Hinduism is one the world’s major religions, comprising an 80% Hindu majority in India and a large Hindu diaspora across the globe—most notably in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Hinduism encompasses plural religious beliefs and practices across time and space, which have produced diverse theological and philosophical views regarding childhood, as well as a wide array of social and cultural practices involving children and child-rearing. This entry provides an overview of research on Hindu understandings of childhood, children, and child-rearing through the ages, moving from the ancient to the contemporary period.

The Vedas (ca. 1500 BCE), the oldest scriptures in Hinduism, are at the basis of much of historical and contemporary Hinduism. They posit that the birth of a son is a key ...

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