Monday, January 16, 2006

Festivals

I have been wanting to write this post since Deepavali somehow it kept delayed. Anyway, the delay added some more points!

During every festival, I wonder why and for what reason I'm still trying to celebrate it. The purpose of the festival is not met in my situation most of the time, i.e. I'm neither in the geographic location nor the time zone to really celebrate it. Atleast back in my younger days, it meant new clothes, special eatables etc. These days that too are not reasons.

Pongal is a harvest festival. I stock up on my grains whenever I visit the grocery store! If it is to thank Mr. Sun, he hardly used to show up in the cold northeast in January!! The 'kannu pidi' used to be the heights, with every single bird gone South and with every inch of the balcony covered in inches of snow, it used to be a pitiable sight. This year atleast I was so happy to step outside to do it and my daughter kept telling me the whole day that no birds came to eat the special food!!

Infact, it feels disheartening to celebrate these festivals when the people for who these festivals are for, the farmers, have nothing to rejoice about. Do festivals really bring happiness? IMO, for the wealthy, it is one more chance to show off their wealth and for the poor, it is another terrible reminder of what they cannot afford/enjoy!

But for one thing, these occasions help: to re-connect with people. An occasion to mail/call to wish friends and family(who are increasingly getting busier with their routines) and let them know of our existence!

17 comments:

:: The Protector :: said...

Agree with you....atleast by celebrating they can become happy know!...


hope ypu had a gr8 Desi Pongal! ;)

Cheers!
:)

NaiKutti said...

re-conenct with people is the main thing for most of us...

for me, its just another day... specific to pongal, the farmers situations haven't improved but we still celebrate... one thing is , as they say, just a rememberance of that event/tribute or whatever... one good thing is for that festival we but many of the stuff farmers produce (not the imported ones) and that way we help them to a very little extent...

but i can totally relate to what u r saying!

keerthi said...

Not just farmers. Every person, who eats vegetations, should thank the sun and rain for their proper embracings.. that enabled their diet.

Kanu - thats a beautiful custom. No matter if the birds dont eat. Its simply like lighting the Olymic torch.. nothing great about the act, but the spirit its got.. whew !

I get emotional when someone keeps kanu for me.. Usually my sisters do that.

sai thilak said...

Good observation. The way festivals are celebrated have been changing. Atleast this way it keeps us to stick to our traditions...

mitr_bayarea said...

Aparna-

great post and i have similar thoughts on celebrating festivals here in US. But atleast, here in California-Bay Area, with the presence of a huge desi community, it is motivating enough to celebrate all these festivals.

I guess this is the closest to living in India and celebrating.

Me too said...

Vishnu, glad if the celebration brings happiness.

Karthik, my thoughts too.

Keerthi, the gestures, customs seem to satisfy you. B'cos of emotional brothers like you that we sisters are not able to give it up altogether!!

Sai Thilak, yes, follow traditions to pass it on to the next generation.

Mitr, it is the purpose and essense of the occasion that seems lost.

Raju said...

Nice article.. I thought only guys would think this much for festivals.. My wife misses India sooo much for these festivals,, no matter why they are celebrated. The joy of celebrating them with dear ones and remembering the young age activities are something why festivals are so important. It is a happy moment for the mind rather than the senses.

tt_giant said...

Just for reliving the moments which we spent back home during similar circumstances is reason enough!

Just my 2 hoots!

Nice post, actually.

keerthi said...

aparna, Getturesnnu illa. In general formalities.. Nalla velichchama irukkara saamikku edhukku deeparadhanai kaamikkanum ? andha madhiridhaan..

This time, my sis came home from her in-laws and kept kanu at my home... that was so very good, a feeling.

Yours Truly said...

I look fwd to such occasions to get together in our/uncles' house to have absolute fun, good food and general/family arattais :D And the best part of such meetings is when we get to watch one of the family weddings, which happened almost 10 years back in a CD and wonder at how the now 6'2" cousin was soooo kutty or the now completely bald periappa had so much of jet black natural hair 10 yrs back :))

Me too said...

Raju, like I commented in one of your earlier posts, I had been of the opinion that men were mostly okay with traditions, customs. I had always been a 'black sheep' even in India!!

Deepak, 'happiness'-a? appa seri!

Keerthi, formalities, adha pathi aarambicha... Anyway, while chatting with my brother, I told him, if and as long as my actions bring happiness to someone, I will continue being the robot!

Yours truly, wow!! That sounds absolutely fun!! Ensoy!!

Anonymous said...

I love festivals because they usually bring us some more holidays. You know, life is stressful and sometimes boring. Festivals give us a reason to have some more fun. I am Chinese. The Chinese New Year is just around the corner. I am really looking forward to it.

Me too said...

Anon, thanks for your comments. Wish you a happy new year!

desi_in_sd said...

I too was having similar thots some daya ago. But then I realized that festivals are a celebration of life. Every day, we go through the same monotonous grind - work, eat, sleep, repeat etc. So festivals are an occasion to get out of this grind and do something different. Most festivals are structured around special food items - kozhakkatai for Vinayaka Chathurthi, seedai for Gokulashtami etc. I think this was a brilliant move on the part of our ancestors because food is someone everyone looks forward too.

I am not in favour in doing things for the sake of it. For eg keeping Kanu might have made sense( I can't imagine how) a couple of centuries ago. But it might not be of much use today. On the other hand eating pongal must have been as much a treat then as it is today.

On a spiritual level, Pongal signifies a day to pray to the sun( and by its extension nature) and how much we are in its debt. If that
simple thought stops us from reducing our trash by atlease a percentage point, I think celebrating Pongal would have done its job.

Pongalo Pongal.!!!

Me too said...

Desi_in_sd, welcome and thanks for your comments! Festivals must have been created for the purpose that you have mentioned, 'get out of the grind and do something different, too. In those days, people did not/could not indulge in luxurious(eating sweets or wearing new clothes) in daily life. But now it is not so. My point is, we are moving away from the basics and following things that are convenient to us!

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