Tribal Holi on Good Friday, 21-03-2008
Remigius de Souza
Holi festival and the Cult of Tree worship have animistic origin. The tribal of India have been celebrating Holi festival and Tree worship even before the emergence of civilised society. Indic societies have assimilated both, which are attached with various meanings and rituals.
Holi festival goes on for five days with dancing, singing, drinking toddy, arranging marriages, fishing at village lakes, visiting fairs etc.
Such coincidence of Holi and Good Friday on same day takes place at intervals. A Catholic priest once told me of an event that took place a couple of decades ago, a true story.
The missionaries had invited the new Catholics of tribal communities in North Gujarat on Good Friday that was also the day of Holi. Nearly 5000 Catholic adivasis – aborigine – reached the place.
In their traditional way they – adivasis – prepared for the feast; they cut bull and prepared food for 5000 people for the occasion. The priests and nun were stunned by this coincidence, as Good Friday is the day of abstinence and fasting.
Any the priests and nuns couldn’t do anything about it but participate. I wonder what would happen today! There is more than what meets the eyes!
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