Festivals – what do they mean?


Today’s (21st December) ‘The Hindu’ carried this photo on its lead page. The photo (Courtesy: Reuters) shows an overcrowded Dhaka’s Airport railway station on the eve of the Muslim festival Eid-ul-Adha.

The picture ticks off several thoughts in one’s mind – the lack of adequate infrastructure, the problem of migrant labour etc. But what struck me immediately when I saw this picture was the discussion that I had with my friend Nalini sometime back. We were discussing as to what  festivals signify.

In the course of our discussion, she told what her father had told about festivals. The reasonably well to do people can celebrate on any day when they have an occasion or mood for celebrations. But for those who cannot afford to do so, festivals are a day to look forward to. Families which spend the entire year trying to meet both ends meet look forward to an occasion like Deepavali or Christmas or Id. They save some money, get bonus at work or even borrow to celebrate the festival – buying new clothes, going to temple, having sweets etc. For them it is a day to look forward to. A reason to break from their mundane routine and celebrate if only for a day, if only for a short while, if only half-heartedly. But that is necessary and it is very special. In that sense festivals have a significant meaning. I found this view interesting apart from the other reasons for festivals such as extolling the virtues of good over evil etc. And when I saw this photo today in The Hindu, that’s what struck me. Those thousands of people, who have left their homes and come to Dhaka to make a livelihood. For them Id is an occasion to celebrate, a reason to go back home, spend time with their parents, spouse and children.

I love festivals especially something like Diwali as it is one day where almost everyone celebrates. We can have our individual celebrations on any day of the year, but on days like Diwali when everyone celebrates there is a some sort of resonance that makes those days even more special. They offer you an outlet to come out the temporary lows and jump back to life.

This is festival season…the season of Id, Christmas, New Year and Pongal…I wish you all the very best for this festive season..Let’s celebrate…

 P.S:  1. Thinking again, isn’t it better to have one or two days to look forward to celebrate rather than having a luxury to celebrate any day.

2. I am waiting for Dec 31 to rush back home..Though it might not be as crowded as the Dhaka train, I am sure our own Brindavan Express will be packed to its brim on that day….:)


3 thoughts on “Festivals – what do they mean?

  1. Yes…festivals indeed signify “festivities”…the feeling of cherished celebration set them apart from normal days…it is important to retain this “feeling” for the goodness of keeping mankind civilised as in many societies families keep together only during such times. However much one celebrates in the midst of friends / close family members, festivals extend the cheer and spread love even to distant people. I feel because of the very concept of sharing love, festivals should be treasured and festivities continue, even if with rituals.

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