The entire world is used to witnessing the passion and fervour with which Indians celebrate their festivals. India is a country blessed with a harmonious blend of several religions and cultures. The festivals of each culture reflect its vigour and lifestyle. With vibrant clothing, enchanting music, sizzling cuisine and moments of togetherness, Indian festivals really keep everyone alive throughout the year.
However, India has been influenced by westernisation and modernisation for quite some time now. The western beliefs seem to be influencing our age-old cultures and traditions. In fact, it will not be wrong to say that our festivities also seem to be subject to alien forces.
Festivals are so much about togetherness. Now with the advent of online shopping and food delivery applications, people don’t often go out together to do some shopping and buy gifts. Joint-families are barely seen anywhere these days. Earlier, large families would get together and spend quality time during festivals. In nuclear families, the enthusiasm is not quite the same.
If we look at our festivals carefully, each festival has a significant meaning. Lohri and Baisakhi are celebrated as harvest festivals; Dhanteras is associated with love and prosperity and Raksha Bandhan signifies the strength of a brother-sister bond. Once you know the sentiments attached to a festival, you tend to value it much more. However, our youth does not possess as much knowledge about Indian mythology as they do about other things. Some don’t enjoy knowing about these things while others don’t think it’s useful. Sadly, our own youth seems to have lost interest in our very own traditions.
Televisions and radios used to play a covert role in promoting festivals around India through a series of special programmes. They would hold people together in one living room. Nowadays, people would rather stream a movie on Netflix than watching a reality TV show with their parents.
When you hear the word entertainment, you don’t often relate it to festivals. But if we ask our elders, they will tell us that there is no better source of entertainment than festivals. Imagine a massive dandia field, a lot of tasty food and rocking music. All you need is a bunch of friends and cousins and you can celebrate Navratris amazingly well. The situation is not like this these days. Families don’t often throw Navratri or Holi parties unless they are rich. People have allergy excuses for not celebrating Holi. Try and celebrate Diwali and the firecrackers will do much more harm than good. Cities do have Dusshera fairs, Durga Puja pandals etc. But do you have friends to go out with? Can you even afford to go to such costly parties? Or can you take a day out of your tedious private job which does not give you a holiday even on a festival? In the midst of so many questions, you just lose interest.
Perhaps the biggest factor that has revolutionized the modern-day mindset is the emergence of social media. It may be a hard fact for some to swallow but these days festivals are merely about glittering clothes and fancy photographs. Sadly, forwarding the same text to 50 people and putting up a story about whatever you do and wherever you do isn’t enough to celebrate a festival.
Hence, festivals are the heart and soul of India. We all must introspect and realise what are we doing with our country’s biggest pride. Let us try to find out the lost happiness in the beauty of Indian festivals.