When we were children, celebrations were all about holidays, feasts and new clothes. These mini vacations were all we could think of. The anticipation of reuniting with cousins and siblings, and the trepidation of meeting smothering aunts and uncles gave us butterflies in our tummies days before the elaborate festivities began.
As years have gone by, the butterflies have perhaps flown away, but the thrill has remained. These grand reunions have become an excuse to take time off busy schedules. Yet, festivals continue to bring back those happy memories. A sense of belonging takes over, leaving us warm inside, untouched by the chaos outside.
“Festivals can generate shared positive experiences, thus leading to harmony and social wellbeing.”
An unbreakable bond
On a more subtle level, celebrations help build bonds and express subdued emotions while fostering strong community ties. Mental health and wellbeing expert Anoop Alex says, celebrations and community events address issues like isolation and provide a sense of belongingness. In addition, festivals can generate shared positive experiences, thus leading to harmony and social wellbeing.
Elaborating further on the positive effects of festivals, sociologist Dr Malathi V Gopal feels that the act of celebrating plays an integral role in binding communities in the Indian society.
Tech breaking ties?
Today, technology has taken precedence over personal contact. Families are getting smaller and we rarely find the time to be part of festivities as we knew them yesterday. You might think technology is threatening this bond. But experts don’t think so. According to Dr Malathi V Gopal, “Fortunately, it has not really affected a major chunk of the Indian population. Culture takes its own time to catch up with innovation as technology moves at a faster pace.”
Contrary to popular opinion that social media networks, instant messengers and voice and video calling apps draw people into isolation and self-centredness, it is these children of technology that are bringing people closer. Everyone who matters is just a Skype call away.
At the end of the day, no matter how much your work and personal life keep you away from your loved ones, festivities and celebrations make you feel as warm and fuzzy as they did when you were eight years old.
It is these precious bonds that give meaning to our lives. So, reach out. Go ahead. Celebrate.