This question comes to my mind time and again. I love the fact that I was born an Indian and the only country which has maximum number of festivals celebrated and moreover one gets holidays for them too. Festivals do make life very colourful and Diwali probably tops them all with Holi coming in second for me. There is a lot of hope, excitement and activity all around you. The definite thing is one misses this fervour when one is away from India. Diwali is never the same, even if we do celebrate it with other Indians in an Indian temple. I feel what we miss is the family and close friends more than the activities related with the festival.
After all, these festivals were an occasion for family gatherings and coming from a family that is quite obsessed with gatherings, I am one for get-togethers, especially on important festivals. But, other than this, a festival doesn’t mean too much to me personally. Yes, there are some rituals and pujas to be performed. Diwali and Ganesh Chaturthi are probably the only two for which I do that; but what about all the others? I love decorating my house for Diwali and arranging the little pandal for Ganesh ji at home. But many other festivals have lost their prominence and relevance in today’s modern setup, at least in the cities, with fast paced lives and hardly any time for others. I think that they are probably still prevalent in villages where life primarily revolves around agriculture.
This Diwali, I was in two minds. What with all the smoke that comes out of the firecrackers should I really be spending money on crackers and two what is Diwali without them. After all it is just one day in a year. All the pollution that the festivals cause makes my heart bleed. So do the extravagancies of Ganesh Chaturthi and Durga Puja and so on and so forth.
I feel that with the changing times, we should revamp the way in which the festivals are celebrated. Maintaining the essence of a festival is crucial for continuing our age old traditions and customs, but extravagance can be curbed in order to preserve our fast depleting ecology. For example, one can decorate the house for Diwali and light beautiful Diyas, but curbing on the extravagance of excessive fireworks would do us all a lot of good. Else, we will neither have a culture nor a planet for our future generations.
All said and done, festive greetings and wishes for a wonderful Diwali with a prosperous year ahead.