Festival is a celebration, a time for sharing, love and happiness.
I don't believe in or follow any religion. Whether gods exists or not that I don't know and I cannot say. Though I enjoy understanding and knowing about different cultures.
When I look at any festival and keep aside the whole god part, the pooja or prayer part. I see a lot of meaning in the festivals. Each festival has a relevant reason connected to our lives. Each festival represents happiness and togetherness. Each festival bring lots of sweets and other yummy food items. There also a lot of music, dance and story telling.
I believe that festivals and celebration are completely unrelated to god but to the people around me, me as a individual and the nature around. At the same time I respect and accept others customs. I even perform some if needed but I don't believe in it nor will I take initiative to perform them.
This week at campus we had Festival Week. We celebrated various festival. Most importantly we celebrated togetherness. There was no barrier of age,gender and religion.
Holi : Holi is a loved festival for it's fun and joy of play with colours. We together made natural colours. We played holi together, the air was filled laughter and joy.
I think the meaning of Holi is to have fun and spread love and play with all.
Pongal : Boys and girls alike decorated the place with rangoli and flowers. We cooked pongal on fire.
I think pongal is a festival to celebrate the harvest, to pay homage to all that helped us to get the crop. One can celebrate the happiness whatever they achieved in their work.
Christmas : One tradition is that all get together and have a Christmas dinner and exchange gifts. Again Christmas is for celebrating life, love and in the cold weather spreading warmth to one another.
New year : A new year is a new beginning and new start. A time to embrace your mistakes and move ahead. We made a old man (scarecrow) and burned it. I put all my past in the old man and burned it.
The tradition is to burn away all you mistakes, regrets and choices. Start new and fresh. I think it not about forgetting your past but accepting and embracing it.
We all Cooked together. ate together, sang together and had fun together.
I realized this is the true essence of festival. Maybe this is the reasons why festivals originated. From time to time in the year we have festivals to remind us of our existence.
Another important part is that after all fun and celebration we together clean up. Having fun is also hard work.
I think I experienced the true essence of festival, I experience togetherness in its pure form.