On a recent assignment Anaya was asked to make a chart on festivals of India. Quickly we downloaded pictures from the internet, printed them and pasted on a white chart paper. She wrote a few lines about each and viola it was done.
Since she cannot keep quiet, she kept on asking me questions while I was cutting the pictures for her. First things first, “Mom, what is a festival?” Not that I didn’t know, but I wanted to tell her the precise meaning.
As per Wikipedia, “A festival is a special occasion of feasting or celebration, usually with a religious focus. Aside from religion, and sometimes folklore, another significant origin is agricultural. Food (and consequently agriculture) is so vital that many festivals are associated with harvest time.”
Now she had a new set of questions resulting in me breaking down each word for her better understanding. Festivals help us to keep connected to our roots, our culture, our values, and our origin and makes sure we preserve this priceless gift. It helps people come together and celebrate, eat together and make merry. Ok this is the reason why we have so many parties around Diwali? she nodded.
It gives us the opportunity to let go of people and things and live harmoniously. “It’s a time to forget all the chaos of life and to embrace good hopes.” I added. “Yes mom, now I know why Bhaiya and I hugged on Raksha bandhan and promised that we will never fight again “she responded in all innocence, while pasting raksha bandhan pictures.
But why Makara Sankranti she asked? Well, it’s a harvesting festival. It is the time to embrace all the hard work done in the past and to celebrate its rewards and fruits. It teaches us the importance of fruits of labour. “Mom I was happiest when I saw my salad leaves sprouting remember?”
Ok tell me what you like most about festivals? I asked her.
She thought for a while and said “holidays, new clothes and chocolates”
Well yes, today we plan holidays accordingly. Brands offer discounts around festival times. The big fat amazon sale or the Phoenix market city sale all are planned around festival times. Even the restaurants, pubs and cafes have extended happy hours for fest ivies.
But more importantly, festivals Helps to document culture in an undocumented manner. Tells the tale of evolution throughout the years from the changes in the way of celebration. Take any one particular year and study how a particular festival was celebrated then and it open the door of what life was then. It also marks the significant events important to the human race. It tells you about mythologies and stories revolving them.
“Yes I know Hanuman and Ram and Durga ji” she said and started to recite four lines of “Aye giri nandini …” known to her. “ I know Krishna, she said and told me the story of his birth and the ways he used to steal butter in Gokul later and started singing her favourite “choti choti gayiya ,chote chote gwal song…”
“But Holi is so dirty”, she said with a frown. “Well it’s true that we really have to work hard scrubbing off those tough colours from ourselves, but Holi celebrates colours, irrespective of caste and creed. It brings unity and spreads the colour of love I added.” “I love to spray water from my water gun she grinned.”
By this time we were left with only a few more pictures to be stuck and written about.
She happily wrote about Christmas and Eid without my help while I checked upon Sparsh’s assignments.
Ever noticed that when it’s time for the arrival of a festival, the whole aura changes, the whole community gets directed towards a faith, a surrounding full of good hopes, happiness, joy, celebrations is created. It simply uplifts you bad mood and fills you with positive energy. It gives us the time to rethink, reset and rewind our busy lives and set it at a comfortable pace. Festivals brings families closer, rekindles bonds and brings happiness.
Lastly she added “Why is Birthday not counted as a festival?” It’s the best day of the year for me !”
“Life is a festival, if you want it to be.”
Happiness and sunshine.
P.S: I forget to take a picture of her chart 😦