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Celebrating all festivals

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What’s wrong in sharing the happiness of others around you? You can always celebrate the beauty and idea of a festival.

Of all the memories I have of my childhood, festivals hold a distinct place in my mind and heart. Back then, festivals only meant fun, holiday and good food. I did not even realise the significance or importance of most of them but I was keen and eager to celebrate all of them.

I was born into a family which followed and practised Hinduism and I too followed the same by virtue of being born into the family. All the festivals of Hindu tradition were celebrated at home in a simple manner, and my mother left no stone unturned to ensure that the basic rituals are followed. My mother used to take charge of everything as she still does the same and on festival days, she would wake me up early saying that one should not sleep till late on such a holy, auspicious day.

So, festivals meant waking up early but this was not restricted to only Hindu festivities. I would be woken up early on Buddha Purnima, Mahavir Jayanti, Christmas, Guru Nanak Jayanti and Id-ul-Fitr, along with all the festivals associated with the religion I followed. On all these occasions, she would ask me to visit the temple or have good thoughts and do good things. I did not know why I was supposed to do all that.

One day I asked her the same. She explained to me that all festival days are said to be holy and auspicious, and this stands true for all religions. So, if such a large number of people are considering this day as holy, then certainly there is positivity everywhere and it means this day actually has some significance. You may not celebrate it in a similar way as the followers of that religion do, but you can worship and pray to whichever god you believe in on those days and treat that day as a festival to just remain positive. You can go around and wish everyone to just be a part of the holiness that the festival spreads. What’s wrong in enjoying the happiness of others around you? You can always celebrate the beauty and idea of the festival. So, I grew up celebrating this simple idea and concept of my mother.

As I went to a convent school, the merry making during Christmas in school was something I looked forward to. When in school and even today, during exams, my mind would pray and take the name of our Father in heaven along with other prayers. Every Christmas, I would visit a temple with my family and a church because it’s a holy day. I always wonder how my mind instantly starts praying for a while in case I hear the azan when I am in distress or worry. I utter the name of the gods I worship. The azan reminds me of the gods I pray to and the power of prayers. As soon as I hear the azan from the nearby mosque in the evening, I know it’s time to go to my puja room for evening prayers and rituals. Honestly, all this is a part of me and my life. My faith and belief in my religion stands as strong as ever and I am an ardent follower of my religion but this does not deter me from being happy on the occasions of different festivals of my country and their prayers remind me of mine. The beauty and thought behind every religion and prayer is remembering the power above you.

Of late, I come across social media updates on various national issues which are affecting our country. What surprises and saddens me is seeing people pouring out their anger, angst and rage on one another at a personal level. Friends on social media have started turning into foes and using unacceptable statements against one another. When there is a political issue across the country, which we know would have an impact on all of us, it should be dealt with by not indulging in personal arguments. This is about the country and we all stand together even if we have a difference of opinion. Our views might be different as our faith and festivals are but what we all should celebrate together is the idea of our India. No matter how differently we live or speak, the only constant in our minds should be to protect this beautiful idea of India that our forefathers dreamt of and finally gave us to take care of.

mishra.sritapa@gmail.com

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 7:18:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/celebrating-all-festivals/article30479988.ece

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