NOVEMBER 25, 2015
Kerala parish celebrates church feast jointly with Hindu temple festival
Feast and festival in harmony; goodness of religious tolerance in Ayiroor.
By Sijo Painadath
Translated from the daily Malayalam newspaper Deepika of November 24, 2015
At a time when religions, beliefs and cults are tarnished with the allegations of intolerance, here is an example of harmony, tolerance and fellowship. A church feast and a temple festival are being celebrated together with great fervor and enthusiasm. The joyful hue of fellowship is provided to the Christian feast and the Hindu festival at Ayiroor village near Nedumpassery.
For the village and the people at large, this novel experience of fellowship is provided by the St. Anthony’s feast of Ayiroor parish and the Karthikavilaku Ponkala festival of Durgadevi Mahavishnu temple of the same village. The two events are being celebrated in unison and co-operation by the believers of both the religions.
The hoisting of the flag of harmony and tolerance started with the combined advertising boards and publicity materials being displayed all over the region. The temple festival is to be held between Nov. 23 and 25, while the church feast will be held between Nov. 27 and 29. The arches and flex boards give the details of both the celebrations side by side. In this way, the images of St. Anthony and the church as well as those of Lord Vishnu and the temple appear on the same arch.
There are many Hindu brethren among the sponsors of the church feast. There is no religious demarcation among the organizing committee members of the two festivals. The followers of both religions are bent on making both celebrations a great success. The people of Ayiroor say that this is for the first time that the two communities have joined hand to celebrate the feast and the festival together. They are sure that the number of devotees attending the two celebrations will be much higher this year than the previous years.
Rev. Dr. Johnson Vadakkumcherry, the parish priest of St. Anthony’s Church who is also the Assistant Director of the Ernakulam-Angamaly diocese said, “It is the thought that the celebrations of the churches should give experiences of joy and friendship to the common society which is behind the cooperation of the church and the temple in Ayiroor.” He pointed out that all the faithful and people at large are giving great support to the idea of a unified celebration.
From the New American Bible:
…you will be lured into following them. Do not inquire regarding their gods, “How did these nations worship their gods? I too would do the same.” –Deuteronomy 12:30
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