If you have watched the popular TV show Outsourced which was aired in 2010, you may remember the many instances of Indian festivities and culture displayed in the show with great vibrancy. The show may have not garnered popularity in terms of high viewership, but it was nevertheless hilarious and it gave the lead character Todd Dempsey, a glimpse of India. A land packed with festivals, colour and deep-rooted culture.
India is a land that boasts of a culture like no other. When a country is culturally strong, it’s evident that festivals become a part of it. Indians hold festivals extremely close to their heart and find every opportunity to celebrate it with utmost excitement.
We’ve had years of civilizations, communities and faiths. So how can Indians not celebrate festivals?
Celebrate life one festival at a time
Festivals bring immense joy and exuberance to everyone. In India, each day is dedicated to a god which almost makes it a celebration. If it’s Monday, then you worship Lord Shiva. If it’s Tuesday, you pray to Lord Ganesh, Lord Hanuman and Goddess Kali. In this manner, the week goes by praying to and celebrating these gods that bring immense peace and happiness.
Indian mystic and yogi Sadhguru rightly says that in Indian culture the number of festivals in a year brings that measure of joy in one’s life. He says there was a time when the whole country was in a state of exuberance to celebrate every festival they knew. If today we celebrate our respective harvest festivals, there was a time when our culture celebrated ploughing, planting and weeding. Such were the festivities of earlier times where people of different faiths bonded and basked together in the glory of festivals.
Ramanabai Muppavaram is a 78-year old resident of Kamareddy in Telangana. When asked about her experience celebrating festivals in her younger days, she beamed through the phone on the very mention of it. “In our time, festivals meant gathering in our village homes and cooking our heart out for people in the house. My home was never empty and I made sure no one sat with an empty plate”, she recalls.
Ramanabai senses the disparity between now and then and feels that people aren’t celebrating festivals like the way it used to be done. “I miss celebrating these festivals the way I knew them. Today, I celebrate it with my children and grand-children within four walls where convenience has taken precedence over culture.”
Every generation comes with its own share of ideologies and expression and this generation clearly thinks differently. Times have changed and festivals have become a close knit affair as compared to joint families coming together every festivity. Some say life has gotten busy while the responsibility of rituals and material obligations have made many think twice about celebrating festivities with the same intensity.
We spoke to Shradha Mohanty who lives in Bangalore but was raised in Odisha. Shradha elaborated on the kind of delicacies Odisha is known for and how it is iterated differently for every festival.
“Being a state with less opportunities, Odisha faced a lot of brain drain in our current generation. With people of my age making their way to metros, celebrating festivals and making the food associated with festivals has almost become a figment of our imagination.”
She believes that while it is okay to perhaps give up some facets of a festival because life gets busy, it would do us good to celebrate and recognize the same festival in some small way.
We’re currently living in a new world that limits several activities of our life. We may not be able to enjoy every aspect of these festivities like how we did earlier as the pandemic has taken precedence over most things, but we’re looking at festivities with a fresh perspective. From families and neighbours gathering to celebrate festivals to nuclear families celebrating in the confines of their apartments, the present times call for virtual pujas and greetings.
Times may have changed but we must definitely do everything we can to preserve the essence of these festivals so that newer generations don’t miss out on something that we hold very dear to our hearts.