In India, irrespective of religion, festivals have always held a lot of significance for people.
For some, the historic attribute or the story behind the festival is what makes it important for them.
For some, it is the feeling of togetherness which festivals bring with them.
For children, the prospect of holidays make the festival exciting enough.
It could be enjoying the unique delicacies of each festival, meeting your loved ones, celebrating together or finding an escape out of the daily routine – the point is that festivals fill our hearts with joy and help us feel connected to each other.
Most of the important festivals in India have their origin in either religion (call it mythology if you may) or agriculture.
Diwali, the festival of lights which started off to honor Lord Rama’s return to Ayodhya after exile is celebrated every year to signify the triumph of good over evil.
Holi, the festival of colours has its origins in the Bhagavata Purana and celebrates the Narasimha avatar of Lord Vishnu and the unmoving devotion of Prahalada.
Eid signifies sacrifice and charity.
While Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan (the Islamic month of fasting), Eid al-Adha is all about sacrifice and obedience to God’s commands.
Vaisakhi marks the Sikh new year and commemorates the formation of Khalsa panth. It also marks the ripening of the Rabi harvest.
Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ and has gift givings and social gatherings at its heart.
Be it Diwali, Holi, Eid, Vaisakhi, Christmas or the many more festivals in India, people come together to celebrate each and every festival shattering all barriers of religion, caste and race.
All festivals have teachings to impart, a message to deliver.
They remind us of the values we tend to forget in our busy lives.
However the question today is that with changing circumstances and changing lifestyles of people, should festivals change?
Should the manner in which festivals are celebrated be different today?
Is reformation of festivals important?
And how relevant are our festivals today?
To an extent, festivals are already different than what they once used to be. They have started losing their essence.
A variety of factors are responsible for this – families are nuclear today, women have started working.
For many people today, festivals are reduced to occasions where gifts are exchanged.
That too in today’s age of online shopping, can be done without meeting each other physically.
The reason why most people celebrate festivals is merely to show off their status and to maintain their ‘image’ in front of the society.
The repercussions that the festivals are having on everybody’s lives is getting worse year by year.
Everywhere there is a ‘talk’ to change the nature of how these festivals are celebrated but none of them ever are taken seriously or they are just blatantly ignored.
The fact that festivals have become more of an obligation than a matter of celebration is where a reform is needed.
The relevance of festivals in today’s age is much more than we realise.
No matter how busy a person might be, they do find some time to spend with their family and friends.
Somewhere in the new era of festivals the motive behind them of bringing people together, building a sense of unity among them, to love, share and care for each other is still alive.
However there is a strong need for reforms which might bring back the festivals that our elders celebrated.
The festivals where women would find a helping hand from other members of the family; without even asking for it, where men would not look at festivals as an escape from their mundane jobs and children would not look forward for holidays but to meet their friends, relatives and spend a time which they would go on to talk about for months to come.
The good ol’ days that our grandparents talk about is what needs to be brought back.
-Written By Shrunga Poojari(Student)