Karaiyar in Sri Lanka

The Karaiyar have only been reported in Sri Lanka
Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge
* Data can be from various sources including official census, agencies, and local research. Data from these sources can sometimes differ even by orders of magnitude. Joshua Project attempts to present a conservative, balanced estimate.

Introduction / History

Sri Lanka has been called one of the most beautiful places in the world. Unfortunately, a 26-year civil war starting in 1983 took place in the island country. Up to 100,000 died and there was millions of dollars in property damage. The majority Buddhist Sinhalese declared victory over the Tamil Tigers in 2009. Since that time the Sri Lankan economy has begun to rebound, and tourists have returned to the island. The Karaiyar are a Tamil caste of Sri Lanka found mostly on the northern and eastern coasts of the island. Traditionally the Karaiyar are a maritime community who served as naval forces for the empires of South India and Sri Lanka. They fought against the European colonial powers in modern times. Many leaders and soldiers of the Tamil Tigers were from this people group.


What Are Their Lives Like?

The Karaiyar are slowly rebuilding their lives since the ending of the Sri Lankan war. Much of their property was destroyed in the war. Many of this Tamil group lost their lives in the war. The Karaiyar are still involved in fishing and transporting goods by sea. They trade pearls, fish, shells, tobacco, and other goods on an international scale. They own tracts of land that is worked by others. They encourage their children to obtain university degrees and learn English. The Karaiyar marry within their group. Marriage to one wife is the norm. Sons inherit property upon the death of their father. The Karaiyar consider it part of their identity to be Hindu.


What Are Their Beliefs?

The Karaiyar practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works that they will attain moksha or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The Karaivar visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hope of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods like Christians do with their heavenly Father. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. The main yearly holidays of the Karaivar people are 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 Karaiyar need to put aside the bitterness caused by the Sri Lankan war and rebuild their lives. They need to see that they are sinners who can only be forgiven by the grace of God known through Jesus Christ and the Bible. They must comprehend that Jesus is much more than another Hindu god or guru.


Prayer Points

Pray for a spiritual hunger among the Karaiyar leaders and heads of households that lead them to seek the truth about Jesus. Pray that Karaivar followers of Christ may grow in their knowledge of the faith and live exemplary lives before their family and neighbors. Ask the Lord to raise up a Disciple Making Movement among the Karaivar of Sri Lanka in this decade. Ask God to lead many believers all over the globe to pray for the Karaivar.


Scripture Prayers for the Karaiyar in Sri Lanka.


References

wikipedia.org/wiki/Karaiyar


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Karaiyar
People Name in Country Karaiyar
Alternate Names करायर
Population this Country 202,000
Population all Countries 202,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 2
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
Pioneer Workers Needed
People ID 21410
ROP3 Code 118216
ROP25 Code 303707
ROP25 Name Karaiyar
Country Sri Lanka
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Total States on file 9
Largest States
Northern
99,000
Eastern
51,000
Western
17,000
Central
15,000
Sabaragamuwa
8,200
North Western
3,900
Uva
2,800
Southern
2,600
North Central
1,100
Country Sri Lanka
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Total States 9
  Northern 99,000
  Eastern 51,000
  Western 17,000
  Central 15,000
  Sabaragamuwa 8,200
  North Western 3,900
  Uva 2,800
  Southern 2,600
  North Central 1,100
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
15.81 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
84.19 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
* From latest Sri Lanka census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Primary Language Tamil (202,000 speakers)
Language Code tam   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Tamil (202,000 speakers)
Language Code tam   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Tamil

Primary Language:  Tamil

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1714-1956)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1715-1998)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1727-2024)
FCBH NT (www.bible.is) Online
YouVersion NT (www.bible.com) Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings General Ministry Resources General / Other
Audio Recordings Love letter to you from scripture Father's Love Letter
Audio Recordings Online Audio Scripture Talking Bibles
Audio Recordings Recorded oral Bible Oral Bibles
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Following Jesus video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video God's Story video God's Story
Film / Video Indigitube.tv Video / Animation Create International
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Tamil Jesus Film Project
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
Film / Video Magdalena video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video My Last Day video, anime Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Rivka video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children Jesus Film Project
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
General Biblical answers to your questions Got Questions Ministry
General Comprehensive list of Tamil Resources General / Other
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
Map Source People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.



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