Indian festivals - Cherishable moments!

Culture - the ideas, customs, and social behavior of a particular people or society.

Living outside of India for nearly 3 years has made me realize that your culture is one of the most significant aspects of your lifestyle. While you are trying your best to fit in or at least adjust yourselves to the Noels of France, Oktoberfests of Germany etc., it is always a bliss to re-live and celebrate Indian festivities reminiscing all the good times you have had through the times. Additionally, you are in a way marketing what has been taught to you since your early life! So, ultimately you are the true ambassador of your learning, traditions, and culture in the foreign lands.

To be utterly honest, I don’t come from a very staunch family. I adapted practical methods from my folks and a few from the circumstances. Some used to find my complete nonchalance towards these customs absolutely abnormal but my dear ones have learnt to live with it. Moreover, I have come half-way through to embrace a few specialties – you learn along the way as well.

Festivals are fundamental elements of our traditions. In Hyderabad, we used to have vacations for all the major festivals – a week for Dussera, 3-4 days for Sankranti, 3-4 days for Diwali, a couple of days for Christmas and many more. Occasions to celebrate are really never ending for us and there are customs around each one of them. I think this is something we can proudly talk about our country, overwhelming the audience, anytime and anywhere!

Here is a quick snapshot of the most admired festivals of India:

Diwali – Perhaps the most popularly known Indian festival across the globe, would ensure that you miss India to the core. The very fact that you don’t get to see any diya (earthen oil lamp) creates a lump in your pit. For someone like my husband, who hails from the northern part of India, an unlit sky without fireworks could be a real bummer!

Dussera – Different cities in India have a different set of school holidays. We used to have a week off for Dussera! So, naturally, this used to be my favorite! The festival signifies victory of good over evil. The same festival is known as Durga Pooja in the eastern part of India. Mutton biryani is the most popular dish in Hyderabad which is exactly opposite to the North Indian version where people do not touch meat at all during this time.

Sankranti – This festival of harvesting season is known by different names across the country – Pongal, Baisakhi, Sankranti etc. In Andhra / Telangana, there used to be contests for best Rangoli. I remember waking up really early hours to make some beautiful and colorful designs. In Hyderabad, Kite contests are widely sough-after during this time of the year. You can't miss the buzz of the jaunty kids fighting for their precious kites!

Vinayaka Chaturthi – Also known as Ganesh Chaturthi & Vinayaka Chavati, is mostly celebrated in the western and southern part of India. Mythology says that Ganesh had been granted a boon to be more revered and worshiped than his father. He is particularly popular among the kids. During our school days, around this time, I remember outing with my sister and friends to enjoy several stage performances – organizing fun events is a common tradition to celebrate this festival.

There is, really, an everlasting catalogue of the Indian festivals. Here is a list to give you a quick glimpse. This blog is certainly delayed when it comes to the timing of the festivals but perfectly timed with my missing-home feeling. 

I am off to India on vacation shortly and I have never in the history of staying abroad felt such a longing to go home! And the reason I figured for this yearning was that in India (different places) or in the UK, although I went through different mannerisms, there was still some familiarity – Indianism, language, belongingness etc. Whereas in France, everything has been an effort to fit in, except when I am at home with my husband. So this is the maximum change I have ever experienced – language, work life, day to day living etc.

Once you are out of your comfort zone, which is at home, everything is a learning. There is nothing wrong to learn about new traditions but that familiarity always gives a soothing warmth to the soul. I reckon that traditions are even more important when you are not in India!!

If there is any place on the face of this Earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when Man began the dream of existence, it is India.

Romain Rollan
French Philosopher


Vandita said...

Home is where the heart is... 😊

Come home... And relive your memories😊😊

khushi said...

Wow, I just loved each and every word of this post!!!

Truly, you are missing India like anything! The sense of missing can be felt in your words. Am a traditionally modern person (guess this is a term :P ), who loves traditions to the core, and wants to follow the same with a touch of modern thinking.

Always felt Indian culture is rich (except some idiotic rituals/myths/thoughts), and this belief was strengthened with my visit to Europe! Of course, the only sense of home was your place, the small India that you both have created.

Come home sweetheart, come soon!! And keep writing.


Powered by Blogger.