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Church promotes religious harmony on Good Friday in south India

Priests from the archdiocese of Madurai in Tamil Nadu distribute buttermilk and water the Hindu devotees on Good Friday, April 15, 2022. (Photo supplied)

An Archdiocese in south India and a team from the Thiruvaruperavi (Inter-Religious Leaders round Table) distributed buttermilk, water, and fruits to all Hindus attending the Madurai Kallazhagar Festival to promote religious harmony.

The April 15 (on Good Friday) event was organized by the chairman of the commission, Archbishop Antony Pappusamy of Madurai, secretary Amanullah, a Muslim representative, a procurator of the Hindu community, Vijaragavan, and the co-ordinating secretary, Father Benedict Barnabas J, who is the inter-religious dialogue commission of Madurai archdiocese.

Thiruvaruperavi consists of Hindus, Muslims, and Christians.

They are doing well under the direction of Archbishop Pappusamy who hopes to promote religious harmony and social harmony among people in Madurai through participation in various charitable activities during the festivals of each religion. 

Amanullah, the Muslim representative said, “The purpose of the event is to bring joy to all of us on this special Good Friday and to show solidarity with all our religious communities.”

“We are one in the world, and no one can separate us by our religion. We are brothers and sisters by birth,” said Vijaragavan, the Hindu delegate.  

There is an annual Tamil Nadu celebration in Madurai in April called ‘Hindu Chithirai Thiruvizha’ or ‘Meenakshi Thirukalyanam’ (marriage of goddess Meenakshi and Shiva).

This ritual is celebrated during the Tamil month ‘Chithirai’ which is associated with the Hindu Meenakshi Temple, dedicated to Parvati's consort Sundareshwar and is held on the full moon of Chithirai.

A month-long festival, the first 15 days are celebrated as Meenakshi was crowned as the divine ruler of Madurai and she married Sundareshwar.

Over the next 15 days, celebrations will take place to commemorate Kallalagar or Alagar (a form of the god Vishnu) journeying from his temple at Alagar Koyil to Madurai.

Traditionally, the Meenakshi Amman Temple Festival is held south of the Vaigai River in Madurai and the Azhagar Festival is held on the northern bank.

The festival is attended by more than five million city dwellers and a large number of folk people. 

The festival is a celebration of folklore, and the people attending it seem deeply devoted to it. They also appear to lead a simple life. 


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