The term “Hindu” first appeared in the English language as “Hindoo.” It was a colonial term, coined in the 1800’s, to describe a loosely-related set of beliefs and practices found in the land we now call India. Although Hindus live all over the world, about 950 million people in India are Hindu (which is 80% of the population). Many prefer a non-colonial term — like Sanatana Dharma, which is roughly translated as “Eternal Way” — to describe their belief system.
The two major holidays are Holi — the festival of colors celebrated in the spring — and Diwali — the festival of lights celebrated in the fall. Many Hindus also celebrate the births of various deities. Ganesha — the elephant-headed god — and Krishna — who appeared on earth as a rather mischievous boy — are two popular ones.