The annual Christmas event at the St Mary’s school came with a pleasant twist this year – not only did the Christian students put on a great show on Tuesday, but their Hindu and Muslim peers also got into the mix and simultaneously celebrated Diwali and Eid.
The idea to have a single event for the three religious occasions was the brainchild of the principal of the school, Sister Rosy. “We, as the elders, are hypocrites because we express solidarity for the sake of photo sessions only. But these children are innocent and we have to teach them to respect all religions,” she said.
The event kicked off with the National anthem. Clad in an eclectic variety of dresses, students from class I to class X participated in tableaus, skits and songs. Muslim students were in white with caps bearing the moon and star, the Hindu students were clad in colourful kurtas and dhotis and the Christian students were wearing coats, ties and Santa Claus caps. At one point during the event, they danced to the tune of the popular Sindhi folk song ‘Ho Jamalo’. The food stalls, which were offering different snacks including, biscuits, chocolates, toffees and cotton candy were particularly popular.
The students and the audience were equally pleased at the fact that the interfaith event had been organised. “I feel really happy to be participating in such an event. Today it seems as if there are no Muslims, Hindus or Christians - just human beings. All these religions have one thing in common – they all preach humanity,” said a student of class IX, Khizar Tariq.
“I am happy because it is the first time that such great event has been organised by our school. I now know how Muslims and Christians celebrate their religious occasions,” said a little girl called Prerna. For her the festival was extra special as she had received a prize for her outstanding results in the school’s examinations.
A fourth grader, Nimra, said that her favourite part of the event was the camel dance, which is a part of Islamic celebrations. Munching potato chips, she said that it felt like Eid had arrived because every body was wearing new and colourful dresses. “Today I have learnt to be happy and let others be happy,” said another student, Mariam. Wajiha, a student of class I, was running excitedly from one stall to another. “She could not sleep properly last night because of the excitement,” her mother told The Express Tribune. “The celebrations have momentarily relieved my tensions. It reminds me of Indian movie ‘Amar, Akbar, Anthony’,” she added.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 21st, 2011.