"Hinduism (or Sanatana Dharma) is the third largest religion in the world behind Christianity and Islam, with nearly one billion adherents. According to the Pew Research Center, about 0.7% of Americans self-identify themselves as Hindu. Originating on the Indian subcontinent, it is often described as a combination of many religious beliefs and philosophical schools. 'Hindu' originated as the term used by ancient Persians to describe the people who lived beyond the Indus River Valley (in Sanskrit, 'Sindhu'). The term 'Hinduism' began to be more widely used by devotees on the Indian subcontinent and throughout the world by the end of the 19th century. This fact sheet is designed to assist congressional offices with work related to Hindu holidays. It contains sample speeches and remarks from the Congressional Record, presidential proclamations and remarks, and selected historical and cultural resources."
CRS Report for Congress, R45001
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html