Madurai: Setting an example of promoting communal amity, a little known village here has been following a unique tradition of exchanging greetings between Hindus and Muslims before ushering in the Tamil new year.
Hindus of five hamlets around Thumbaipatti village near Melur 30 kilometres from here assemble before the local mosque, where senior Muslims give them sandalwood paste and Kum Kum. The village accountant then calls one person from each community to receive betel leaves and Arecanut given by them.
Only after receiving the Betel leaves and Arecanut do the Hindus ring in the new year and also start the ceremonial agricultural operation of "first tilling of the land"
The custom practised from time immemorial is called "Betel festival" said Syed Basha a senior Muslim of the village.
K Dharmar, a village leader, said the objective of following the custom is to stress on harmonious living of the two communities.


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