Our day began with outdoor gardening work at the aptly-named urban oasis, Girarden, so named because of its location on Girard Ave. in West Philly.
Muneerah and Sue, our two wonderful hosts, walked us through the work to be done–weeding, trash detail, prep for planting.
The group got a lot done and we enjoyed the beautiful sunshine!
After that, we traveled to Interfaith Philadelphia to meet up with Andrew, Communications Director and overseer of the Alternative Break program. Andrew shared a bit about Interfaith Philadelphia and some upcoming programs, including Civil Conversations.
Then, I led a workshop about pluralism with the students. They had such great insights and shared some of the obstacles to embracing active engagement in interfaith work. We reflected on Eboo Patel’s passion for pluralism in place of tolerance and what we can do to truly know our neighbors and to work with them side by side.
Soon after, we journeyed to the NW suburbs of Philadelphia to
Bharatiya, a multi-deity Hindu and Jain temple.
We were incredibly fortunate to be there for the Holi Festival.
The festival of colors is vibrant and considered one of the major festivals in India. It is celebrated in the month of Phalgun on full moon day according to the Hindu calendar. It takes place at the start of spring. This festival also celebrates the eternal love of Radha and Krishna. Holi teaches humankind to transcend above caste and creed. It is a festival to forget old grievances and to meet others with great warmth. Celebrants light a bonfire on Holi eve and then the next day, people greet each other with Happy Holi and the colors fly!
We were fortunate enough to experience this all in one night! What fun it was! Such an amazing experience! So much community and celebration!