The end of the monsoon season signals the arrival of the festival season in India. It also marks the beginning of the harvest season, providing people with some free time and extra money. Starting from the month of Shravan, we embark on a series of festivals, most of which are deeply connected to nature. These festivals have managed to retain their significance even in the modern age, thanks to their ability to bring people together.
Can you think of any festival that is celebrated in solitude? I doubt it. Take Nag Panchami, for instance. People go out and perform their Nag Puja at the monument dedicated to the serpent God. Women exchange sweets, while children enjoy playing on swings. Women also gather at the Banyan Tree for Vat Poornima, where they meet and form bonds with other women. Raksha Bandhan brings the entire family together to celebrate the eternal bond between siblings. Ganesh Chaturthi holds a prominent place on the social calendar, with the pandal, the idol, and the arati serving as mediums to unite people in celebration, devotion, and the enjoyment of food. Navaratri adds even more brightness to the festivities. Diwali is all about sharing and rejoicing, while Holi allows you to express your true self. The key element in all of these festivals is being TOGETHER.
In today’s world, although people may not be physically alone, loneliness has become more prevalent. Opportunities for socializing have diminished compared to the past. We spend our days in offices, hunched over files or computers, and return home exhausted, only to eat and sleep.
How can we meet others and share our joys in such a routine?
Families have become nuclear, and visits to neighbors or distant relatives have become rare occurrences. Very few people have the time, space, or inclination to entertain guests for extended periods due to practical reasons.
However, festivals break down these barriers. During these celebrations, there are no excuses. We all join in the festivities like everyone else! You have the chance to be a part of decorating the pandals, creating the idols, cooking the Prasad, serving, cleaning, and eating together. During the ten days of the Ganesh Festival and the nine days of Navaratri, people unite to nourish their souls. They speak, laugh, sing, dance, and feast together in an atmosphere without walls or boundaries. But at its core, what they are truly doing is replenishing their lonely souls.
We humans are social beings, craving companionship, laughter, conversation, and emotional connections. These opportunities become scarce once we leave school and college. Sure, social media keeps us updated on others’ lives, but true connections happen in person. Some may criticize these festivals for being loud, causing pollution, or being overly hyped, but let’s take a moment to reflect. These celebrations bring people closer, create lasting memories, and foster the bonds we all yearn for.
So this Dasara, Diwali, let’s go beyond sending a generic Diwali card on Whatsapp. Let’s pick up the phone and call our loved ones to wish them personally. Let’s have heartfelt conversations with family members and distant cousins. Let’s plan visits to friends and relatives in our city. Even if our homes are small, we can utilize the terrace, parking area, or a nearby garden. Let’s hold hands, pat each other’s backs, and share laughter, food, and cherished memories. It doesn’t matter how extravagant the decorations, attire, or food are. What truly matters is the connection we forge.
So, let’s come CLOSER. Let’s come TOGETHER.