What is the meaning of temples


An old temple in Paestum in Italy. It was dedicated to the goddess Hera. Most people think of ancient Greece or ancient Rome when they think of a temple. The Greek temples are known for their columns. However, at that time the temples were not simply white, but brightly painted.

A temple is a holy house for a religion. There you worship one or more gods, or you do something else that is important for religion. There are temples in many different countries and religions.

The word comes from Latin. What is meant is a demarcated place. While you do everyday things elsewhere, this place is there for the special. For the Greeks, the temple was the house where an image of the god was kept.

What is a temple for?

What all temples have in common is that they are used for prayer. Hindu and Buddhist temples often include a monastery or school. There is no longer a temple in Judaism; the last one was destroyed in AD 70. With Christians there are only churches, but no temples. In the Catholic churches there is only the altar as a remnant from the temple.

Animals were often sacrificed in the temple. The animal was slaughtered and part of it was burned. The burned part was for the gods. The rest was eaten together or given to the poor. This is known from the Jews, the ancient Greeks and the Romans and from many other cultures and religions.

With a sacrifice, people wanted to give the gods a present and ask them to protect the city and the people. They also wanted to show that, thanks to the gods, we are so well off that we can afford to burn meat. Often it was also about reconciling God with people. So people wanted to clear the table with God again after doing something that he didn't like.

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