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Catholics and Hindus share church in Trinidad and Tobago on Good Friday

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Picture credit: Dr Kumar Mahabir

By Yajush Gupta

An interesting phenomenon of religious intersection occurring only in Trinidad & Tobago.

On Good Friday, Roman Catholics share their church with thousands of Hindus who pay homage to the dark-skinned wooden statue of the Virgin Mary, who Hindus worship as Mother Kali.

  • Trinidad is the largest island in the nation of Trinidad and Tobago, off Venezuela’s coast in the southern Caribbean.
  • According to the 2011 population census report, Roman Catholics constitute the largest religious group (22%) in the multi-ethnic society. Hindus constitute the second largest (18%) in a population of 1.3 million persons.
  • On last Good Friday, hundreds headed to Siparia for the Feast of Soparee Mai, an annual Good Friday celebration involving both Roman Catholics and Hindus.

Anthropologist Dr Kumar Mahabir recently presented a research paper on this phenomenon that has been taking place every Good Friday for over 140 years in the Roman Catholic church in Siparia in South Trinidad. Mahabir’s paper was entitled “Virgin Mary as Mother Kali: The Intersections between the Hindu Mother Kali and the Black Madonnas in Catholic Churches in Trinidad and Beyond”.

The paper was presented at an international conference themed “Turning Tides: Caribbean Intersections in the Americas and Beyond.” The conference was held on February 18 to 20 at The University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine. It was organised by The UWI and Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, USA.

Dr Mahabir notes in an article that appeared in a news paper at in Trinidad and Tobago: “For the past decade, there has been the appearance of a poojari of the Kali-Mai Hindu sect in the church grounds. He collects donations from worshippers for the intent purpose of doing ceremonial worship for the protection of his village from sickness and natural disasters.”

He adds: “The figure of this poojari (Hindu priest), dark-skinned and dressed in white, jharying (stroking) with knife and neem branch those who seek his blessings, substantiates the conception that Hindus perceive this Divine Shepherdess to be Mother Kali.”

Report prepared by Yajush Gupta. Twitter :@yajush_gupta

 

 

 

 

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Ram Mandir To Be Built In Ayodhya By 2022

The Grand Ram Temple will be built in Ayodhya by 2022

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The Ram temple is proposed to be built at the Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya by 2022. Wikimedia Commons

The much awaited temple proposed to be built at the Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya after the Supreme Court verdict, will be completed before 2022, the 75th year of India’s independence.

The Uttar Pradesh government has released a picture of what the temple, and the Ram statue proposed near it, would look like on their completion. Sources said the Ram idol will take three years to complete.

Details are also trickling in of the grand temple complex planned. Spread over an area 240 feet long and 145 feet wide, it will be 141 feet in height. Its 4 feet periphery will have 251 columns.

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The Ram temple will have a prayer hall, a lecture hall, a educational facility, a saints residence and a hostel for visitors. Wikimedia Commons

The temple complex will have a prayer hall, a Ramkatha Kunj (lecture hall), a Vaidik Pathshala (educational facility), a Sant Niwas (saints residence) and a Yatri Niwas (hostel for visitors).

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Around the idol of Lord Ram, there will be other facilities such as a digital museum, a centre for description on holy scriptures, a library, a cafeteria and parking space. (IANS)