“The greatness of a culture can be found in its festivals.” – Siddharth Katragadda
“Hurray! Diwali bonanza sale! Flat 50% off”, “Be a Santa Clause of your loved ones! Buy one get two free”, “Special sale on the 26th January”, etc., aren’t these the common phrases that we are flooded with during a holiday season? This is the commercialization of festivals that we are referring to.
What is a festival? A festival is an occasion of rejoice and celebration. It can be a religious festival like Diwali, Holi, Eid, Christmas, Durga Puja, etc. or a national festival like Independence Day, Republic Day, Gandhi Jayanti, etc. However, whether it’s a religious festival or national festival, both has its own significance. Every religious festival has its own religious importance but ultimately we celebrate it to pay respect to our Almighty God, ensure peace and harmony around us, and to preserve our culture and society that we live in. On the other hand, national festivals are celebrated to portray our patriotism towards our country and pay tribute to the gallant people who sacrificed their lives to save our motherland.
As India is changing its form with modernization, so are the ways in which the festivals are celebrated nowadays. Earlier, during the time of festivals, family members used to come together and start their preparations like cleaning the house, decorating it, making sweets, etc. Then on the day of festival, everyone prays together, meets their relatives and close ones and celebrates a joyous occasion with peace and harmony. But sadly, the piousness of festivals is lost somewhere.
A day before the festival, instead of lighting our house with diyas, we purchase lights from an electrical shop to lighten up our house. The burden of preparing sweets at home is eliminated with the availability of abundant sweet shops. There are several event managers or flower decorators who are immediately available to decorate our houses. Above all this, every mall, every brand has a bonanza sale going on during festivals. So, the traditional essence of celebrating festivals with families has completely changed.
Nowadays, during festivals, we witness places like sweet shops, electrical shops, malls, etc., completely occupied whereas religious places are not so crowded. Most of the corporations make their maximum sale during festive seasons. This reflects how festivals have become a way of increasing sales. It is a common belief that information technology has made our life easier and convenient. However, with convenience we have forgotten the feeling of actually meeting and greeting our loved ones. Instead of visiting our relatives place during festival, we send a broadcast message “Happy Diwali”, “Eid Mubarak”, “Merry Christmas”, etc. It further paves way for telecom companies who charge for SMS on the day of festivals, thus increasing their revenue.
Thus, we can witness how the meaning of festival is gradually deteriorating into a commercial gimmick. It is our duty to bring back the sanctity of our festivals in order to restore peace and sense of belonging to one other. This will help us to enrich ourselves socially and spiritually.