Festivals and their (ir)relevance today
DISCLAIMER : The ideas in this hub are the thoughts of the author alone and she does not mean to hurt the sentiments of any sect/group.
India is a land of a lot of Hindu festivals and there are different types of festivals celebrated across the country. In spite of aping western culture in many many ways, the tradition of celebrating festivals still seems to continue but the question is how relevant are these festivals really?
Spiritually or religiously, each festival has a god/goddess attached to it. The main purpose of this festival is praying to God selflessly. How many of us do that? We make a barter system deal with even God! Instead of sitting in silence in prayer, we create a big hue and cry over the festival.
Festivals like Rama Navami, Krishna Jayanthi etc are said to be celebrated on the day of avatar of the Gods on earth as mortals. Learning their stories we are supposed to take in good values and understand them, which most of us never do. We do pooja to God, without pure devotion, even while doing the pooja, we seem to have many many negative thoughts! Even the pooja is a kind of show off with all extra decoration!
Let us analyze the different other aspects of a festival. After all, festivals are not just for the spiritual souls! The other things that we do on festival days - wear new clothes, eat sumptuous meals, get together with relatives and friends, watch a lot of special programs in TV!
A few decades back, when life and people used to be much simpler, each of the different things we did on a festival day meant a lot to them. Today, do the many many things we do, hold relevance? This hub is to find an answer to this question.
In olden days, when people had the mindset to save money and not spend unnecessarily, festivals were the time for them to satisfy their many many desires. New clothes for wearing on the festival days. With many children at home, the mother could hardly afford making interesting and tasty dishes everyday, so, festivals were the time to eat different and tasty food items like sweets and savories. People hardly had any means of communication or time to catch up with the family gossip and hence festivals paved way for them to get together and enjoy.
In today's world, with enough money at disposal, new clothes does not matter much. Everyday is a festival if it comes to wearing new dresses! People hardly cook in weekends these days, every other restaurant seems to be over flowing in weekends all the time! There is a sweet shop in every corner and all sweets are available any time. Thus the kozhukkattai or vella seedai do not have their value anymore. You need not wait for Vinayagar Chathurthi or Krishna Jayanthi to eat them.
With a mobile phone in everyone's hand, communication happens instantaneously without any delay. People can meet their friends and relatives easily without any hassle, what with the tremendous development in transportation. They have no necessity to wait for festival days to catch up with their gossips.
Watching special programs in TV seems to mark an important part of the celebration ritual. The umpteen channels telecast million programs leaving the viewer confused! With programs telecast in between commercial breaks, it is actually irritating to watch even a good program. Unfortunately, people do not have an option but watch TV as they do not know what to do otherwise!
Watching two back to back movies in theatre, on Maha Shivrathiri is a perfect example to illustrate the relevance of festivals. The whole concept of a lot of festivals are altered by us to suit our requirements. We disrespect Mother Nature in the name of celebrating many festivals like Diwali, Bhogi etc.
Pongal - the festival of farmers is another classic example of the irrelevance. The agricultural soil has been degraded by us because of addition of many chemicals. We do not do nature-friendly farming anymore, but celebrate a festival and worship mother nature to bestow us with the best - how fair is that?
Festival days are very essential in today's world because they are Holidays and children love them, and they are one way of still preserving some culture and tradition in today's fast-food world!