Uttar Pradesh: Caritas brings together Hindus and Muslims for Holi and Ramadan

As Christians prepare for Easter, some families in a village celebrated their respective celebrations together for the first time. The charity’s interfaith dialogue programme began four years ago and aims to empower communities to manage peaceful relations on their own.

Lucknow (AsiaNews) – As Christians prepare to celebrate Easter, Hindus and Muslims in India have celebrated the feast of Holi and continue to honour the holy month of Ramadan.

In Kalheri, a village in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, the two communities observed their respective celebrations together for the first time, thanks to the Samvaad programme promoted by Caritas India.

The project began four years ago, with the aim of promoting peace and mutual understanding through community empowerment with members involved in maintaining harmony on their own.

The goal is to foster a sense of belonging among the members so as to bridge any divisions within the village.

This year, thanks to several awareness-raising campaigns and a community-based approach, the Samvaad programme has been an unprecedented success.

As the sun set, Hindu families in Kalheri helped prepare meals for the breaking of the Islamic fast, while Muslim families adorned the place with the bright colours typical of Holi and learnt how to prepare gujjiyas, a sweet delicacy typical of the Hindu holiday.

The village square was thus transformed by a kaleidoscope of colours and aromas, where trays of dates (the food with which the fast is traditionally broken) alternated with trays full of colourful petals thrown on the occasion of the Holi festival.

In the evening, Hindu devotional songs and the call to Islamic prayer alternated and intertwined, while several families embraced each other in a show of solidarity.

For Caritas India, the celebration will remain etched in the collective memory of the village, serving as a testimony to the transformative power of compassion and interfaith understanding.