A festival is an occasion for rejoicing and celebration. It conjures up scenes of gaiety and merrymaking. It is an occasion for family rejoicing and community celebrations. Festivals break the monotony of life, bring peace and joy to the masses and above all promote social interaction and harmony. All nations have their religious and colorful festivals. Being a multi-religious, multilingual and multi-racial country, Indians celebrate a number of festivals all through the year. However, Indian festival are known to attract the world due to their harmony variety, color and excitement.
But now we see their significance has been eroded by their commercialization. Now these have become just important occasions, to promote personal and commercial purpose. We know, Indian festivals are as varied as the people themselves. All communities, all religions and all nations have their festivals. But nowhere do they form such an integral part of life as they were earlier used to be.
These festivals can broadly be divided into three categories—national or political, religious and seasonal. Most Indian festivals usually have their origin either in religion or in the myths and legends of popular faiths. Some are connected with the memory of venerable men and events and are, therefore, commemorative in nature. They are intended to keep alive the memory of those days and personalities and inspire people to emulate their examples. But now, real purpose have been abandoned. In the name of those men and occasions, celebrating the event have become a means to attract funds, provided in the name of those functions.
National festivals, like the Republic Day, the Independence Day, Gandhi Jayanti and others are supposed to be celebrated with great patriotic fevour. These have been declared as national holidays and are celebrated in all parts of the country and in the state capitals with a lot of pomp and show. The organizer of these functions never bother to follow the principles of those great men, i.e., of simplicism and non-violence, they rather fight with their coordinators to be ahead in the lime light. The capital, New Delhi is the seat of national celebration on all occasions. It witnesses one of the most majestic parades on the Republic Day. Apart from the Armed Forces, school children from across the country also participate in the parade. The normal practice is that the states exhibit their talents depicting the states resources or recent achievement and the best one achieve rewards. But now, it is an open fact that achievement has nothing to do with the reward. One, who has great source of authority, places can get the place in the line. Moreover, the glory of those reward doesn’t last long. The winners steal the media’s show for the time being. After a time, they are lost in commercial gloom as the commercializing agents make hay while the sun shines.
The same is the case in religious festivals. Diwali is celebrated all over India. On this day, the people worship Lakshmi, the goodess of wealth. On this day, everybody illuminates his house with rows of lights. Every town or village appears gorgeous on this night of mirth and festivity. Lights of all descriptions from the ordinary clay lamp to the costliest chandelier are artistically displayed with splendid effect but the ordinary clay lamp to the costliest chandelier are artistically displayed with splendid effect but to show personal supremacy. In the larger cities, gas and electric lights of various colours and degrees of luminosity make the night as bright as midday without bothering that they are, more or less, misusing the necessary resources. Vocal and instrumental music, stage performances and cinema shows keep people awake till late hours. Fireworks are displayed on house-tops and the frequent whizzing of sky-rockets and explosive bombs continue to be heard from sunset to midnight.
The divine glory of the festival seems to have been lost behind all this show. For young merry-makers, the Diwali night is the ideal night. They spend lavishly on crackers and have sumptuous feasts. They never prefer to do some efforts to make the day memorable for those who have not pocket –power to celebrate it. Sweets are consumed in huge quantities but not for sacred purposes. Juniors gift them to seniors to make them happy so that, in turn, they would get their favor. Many desecrations like these have crept into the celebration of this festival.
The season of festivals is at its peak each year during the months of October and November. There may be poor souls lost in hectic routine having no idea of festive season. There are ump teem ways to remind one that the festival months have arrived. To begin with there would be numerous tents on roadside with bhajans blaring from the loudspeakers and temporary stalls serving piping hot food on payment. Then there are innumerable Dandiya with DJs that go on for nine days. It’s time for brisk business for all. Shops, big and small display ‘For Sale’ or other schemes to attract customers.
Most of the Indian festivals which have come down to us from antiquity are connected with the course of nature and the fruits of the soil. Many legends from Hindu mythology have been associated with festivals. The relationships are the essence of celebrations. But does this spirit exist in today’s fast paced competitive, nuclear families?