Friday brings colour for some, mourning for others

March 21st, 2008 - 5:07 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 21 (IANS) Friday dawned with different emotions for different faiths. While some people sprayed a range of colours on each other to celebrate Chhoti Holi, others gathered solemnly in churches to mourn the crucifixion of Christ on the occasion of Good Friday. In an unusual coincidence, four religious observances - Chhoti Holi (a day before Holi) for the Hindus, Navroz for the Parsis and Iranis, Eid-e-Milad for the Muslims and Good Friday for the Christians - converged Friday.

Shyamlal Sharma, a resident of Mukherjee Nagar in north Delhi, opened his tiny shop earlier than usual this day.

“It’s Holi and the earlier I open my shop, the more business I do. Since the past two-three days, I have had people come and buy dry colours and water guns in bulk.

“Today the demand is going to escalate even further since people have already started playing Holi and are running out of their stock for the main celebrations tomorrow,” Sharma told IANS. Holi, the festival of colours, falls Saturday.

Eight-year-old Suhana and her brother, Sachin, were among the many kids on the streets smearing colours on each other and spraying water with their water guns.

“Mom asked us not to use all the colours that she bought for us yesterday because we have to play tomorrow as well,” Suhana said, with her hair pink and her face a collage of varied hues.

Celebrating Navroz, the New Year day, Zarav Mahewala took his kids and their friends out for ice cream even as his wife stayed back to entertain guests streaming into their home since morning.

“Navroz is a special occasion when friends and relatives gather together for a sumptuous meal and lots of fun. The kids especially wait eagerly for this day since they get showered with all the goodies by the elders,” Mahewala said.

At Sabina Khan’s house in east Delhi, the aroma of suji ka halwa wafted through the air.

“Today is Eid-e-Milad, which is the birth and death anniversary of Prophet Mohammad, and on this occasion halwa is a must have. In the evening we will distribute it to our friends and relatives,” Khan said.

Mourning on the occasion of Good Friday, Anna Joseph, along with her children and husband went to the church in the morning for the prayer service.

“For Good Friday we make a special kind of bread which is not fermented and eat it on that day. Most of us fast on this day…those who are not on fast, eat a very simple meal, mainly a vegetarian fare.

“Some people even avoid milk and other dairy products,” Joseph said.

The service in the churches is very elaborate, with the priest reading the gospel and the chapters on the ‘Passion of Christ’ at length. There are 14 events highlighted in the gospel from the time Christ is condemned to death till the time he is buried

Symbolising the events, 14 pictures are kept in all churches where people pay their tributes.

“Other than the pictures, we also repeat the seven words, or rather sentences, which Christ had uttered before he fell and pay our tribute to him. The first words he uttered were ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do’,” said John Samuel, a resident of Civil Lines in north Delhi.

In some places like Kerala, churches also keep a piece of wood in the shape of the cross, which people kiss after the service.

The period of Lent or suffering ends on Easter, the Sunday after Good Friday when Christ was believed to have risen from death. Easter, hence, is a joyous occasion.

“The kids look forward to Easter when there is a variety of fare being whipped up for the celebration. Painted eggs are very symbolic of Easter,” Joseph said.

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