As a young girl, I used to enjoy festivals. The whole idea and rituals surrounding festivities used to fascinate me. We used to wait for school holidays before the commencement of the festivals and used to concentrate on having fun. Being a Bengali, we used to celebrate Kali Puja during the day of Diwali. And what fun it was. On the eve of Diwali, also known as Dhanteras, our parents used to buy utensils of steel as it was a belief that Goddess Lakshmi visited homes which were clean containing new utensils, gold etc. On the next day, just a day prior to the Diwali festival, my mother used to light 14 diyas as the popular saying goes to ward off evil spirits. Then on the day of Diwali, wearing new clothes we used to visit our friend’s homes to burst crackers and to hog on delicacies prepared by our friend’s mother. Gone are the childhood days….
Once you get sucked into the rigmarole of professional and family life, you barely have a chance to enjoy festivities. However, we can celebrate if we want to as societies have celebrations and festivals are declared as holidays. There are various attempts to preserve our culture. Having compulsory rule of wearing ethnic attires to office on the day of the festival, distributing gifts and receiving bonuses are conspicuous attempts of preserving our corroding culture. Sure, children enjoy the festive atmosphere and engage in celebrations along with their peers but very often for grown ups, such celebrations are too much of hassle. Although still many participate in the rituals surrounding the celebrations, many nowadays stay away from it.
However, the sentiments of Indians residing abroad are just the opposite. Being far away from their culture, they perhaps engage in such celebrations more than the Indians residing in their native land. They gather in groups consisting of people belonging to the same community and rejoice the occasion completely. However, the method of celebrations is different. It is merely eating, bursting crackers and rejoicing. Some people decorate the house with rangolis but the original rituals associated with the festival are no longer practiced. Not many know about the legend behind Diwali or any other festival. The festival merely means crackers, sweets, new clothes and rangolis to many. It is high time we should take steps to preserve our culture lest it might become a thing of the past.