By C.S. Hariharan
It is the time for festivals now; we just celebrated the Navaratri festival, before that it was Ganesh Chaturthi and now Deepavali is around the corner and Christmas is not far away. Even though these festivals are being celebrated from time immemorial as per traditions handed down from generation to generation, the customs remaining unchanged over the years, the way we celebrate these festivals has undergone change – as someone has rightly said the only permanent thing in life is change.
In the earlier days, we used to live in joint families and the whole family used to be involved in the festivities. If some members were living away from the joint family for reasons of employment, they used to come home for the joint celebration. It used to be a sort of family reunion. Now-a-days the norm is the nuclear family with the husband and wife and their one or two children. As the brothers and sisters are all scattered at faraway places, the old family reunions have become just things of the past.
Those days the ladies of the house used to prepare special delicacies for the occasion and people used to enjoy homemade sweets and savories. These days, as most of the ladies are working, this activity has been outsourced; almost everything is bought from sweet meat shops so much so that even very special items of Sree Krishna Janmashtami celebration are easily available in the market.
The question of preparing the special items for the festival will arise only if we stay at home during the festival. Now-a-days people use festival holidays to visit resorts or other places of tourist interest.
For many, festivals are best celebrated watching special programs telecast by TV channels during festivals which may offer a vicarious experience of enjoyment.
Another factor that diminishes the charm of the celebrations is that there are too many festivals that are celebrated in our country sometimes too close in succession. In most other countries, they celebrate very limited number of festivals, but they do celebrate them with a lot of enthusiasm and interest; festivals there are occasions that everyone looks forward to with a lot of eagerness.
All this said, festivals are an inseparable part of our rich cultural heritage and an enthusiastic celebration of the festivals enriches our lives lifting our spirits and makes us forget about the problems of our mundane life. It is a great legacy that we can proudly bequeath to the future generations.