This article asks how the popular deity Hanumān has become one of the central figures for mobilizing a Surinamese Dutch Hindu “devotional public” with a specific appeal to preteen children in The Netherlands. The authors address this research question by examining a particular form of Hanumān, that of the “cuddly” or “cute” Hanumān that has been popularized in animated films such as Return of Hanuman and in cuddly toys sold at specialty stores and market stalls in The Netherlands. Building on in-depth ethnographic fieldwork carried out mostly between 2012 and 2016, this article not only introduces and conceptualizes the appeal of a “cute Hanumān” to preteens, but also aspires to assess the ways in which preteen children with a double migration background create deep devotional bonds to a deity in whom newly emerging, mediatized visualizations converge with their ancestors’ migratory heritage and comforting devotional performances.
- children's religious socialization
- Surinamese Dutch Hinduism