Friday, 3 October 2014

Impact of Festivals on Social Strata: Festival from Around the World – Part I

“The secret of getting ahead, is getting started”, Mark Twain
“”If you can dream it, you can do it”, Walt Disney

Social impact of festivals and celebrations

Society depends on festivals, culture has a big cauldron called customs of which festivals is an important ingredient. Festivals help you dream big. They help you start. However, there is a link between two things always. One is that of celebration with weather. The other is celebration to commemorate achievements and important events that have transpired.

Festival groups
Festivals may broadly be classified into two categories.
a)   Seasonal festival
b)  Celebration
Seasonal festivals comprise of religious and social events that occur at fixed times of the year. Onset of rains, onset of summer or winter are all seasonal occasions. Celebrations are based more on the culture of the people. They highlight certain aspects of their lives that they want to share with everyone. At festivals, food festivals and cultural extravaganzas are conducted to show some special skill of people of that locality.
Kerala Festival
Pixabay Public Domain Photos

Man marks passage of time

The major impact of festival on society is that of progress. It marks changes and achievements, it keeps reminding men and women that they have achieved a lot and are on their way to a lot more.

A) Religious festivals

Commemoration of gods, reigniting old beliefs and honoring old traditions are part of all religious festivals.
a)   Buddhist festivals
a.    Vesak: This festival celebrates the birthday of Buddha. It occurs on the first full moon of May.
b.   Buddhist New Year: This is a three-day celebration beginning from full moon of April.
c.    Uposatha: Celebrations of holy days in each month – new moon, quarter moons and full moons. Buddhists undertake fasts on these holy days.
b)  Christian festivals
a.    Christmas: On December the 25th every year, Christians from around the world celebrate Christmas, the birth of Christ. The celebrations usually last until New Year, which is 1st of January the next year.
b.   Easter: Feast of resurrection of Jesus Christ celebrated on the Sunday after Palm Sunday.
c.    Sabbath: Holy days when Christians go to church and abstain from work. This is on Sunday every week.

c)   Hindu festivals
a.    Dussera: Ten-day festival to commemorate the victory of good over evil, this festival celebrates Goddess Durga and victory of Lord Rama.
b.   Diwali: Festival of lights, Diwali follows Dussera and demarks the planting of Rabi crop. Fireworks are the highlight and all streets are filled with bursting crackers.
c.    Holi: This festival takes place in Phalgun Purnima that is towards the end of February. This festival of love also celebrates triumph of good over evil. Pichkaris are special hand held ‘water pistols’ filled with colored water. People spray each other with coloured water on Holi. There is also a big holi bonfire, where people dance around and have fun.
d)  Sikh festivals
a.    Guru Nanak Gurpurab: Birthday of Guru Nanak, this festival falls on 22 November. Candles, firework and divas are lit for three days. In the Gurudwara, non-stop forty-eight hour reading takes place of Guru Grant Sahib. On the day before, they take out a procession led by Palki (palanquin for Sri Guru Grant Sahib) along with Panj Pyares (Five Beloved) singing songs.
b.   Holla Mohalla: This is day of “Sikh Olympics”, the day when mock battles take place as a demonstration of the skills of the participants. Gatka (Singh martial arts), swordsmanship, falconry and horse riding are usual events. This takes place on March 17.
e)   Islamic festivals
a.    Ramadan: Beginning of Islamic festival of Ramadan falls around Jun 28. The exact dates are dependent on the position of the moon. The end of Ramadan is celebrated as Eid-al-Fitr on 28th July.
Mosque Offering Prayers
Pixabay Public Domain Photos
b.   Muharram: This is the Islamic New Year. Usually it falls towards the end of October.

Life has plenty to offer, or too little. This essential difference is evident in people who start and those who do not. Of course, you need a dream first, something that is your own. Festival is time for sharing and a time for caring. All over the world people of all social strata mingle and become one for a brief moment of time. Festival is a kind of magic you have to experience.

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