Celebration Vs Extravagance
Students from various schools voiced their views through a group discussion conducted at the head office of PapyrusClubs, Chennai on what they think about 'Celebration Vs Extravagance’. Nikita Anil Kumar and Aparna Ashok from Vael’s Billabong, M. Srinivaas and P.M. Surekha from T I Matriculation H S S, G. Nakul and S. Solomon Joel Samson from St. John’s H S S, K. Akshay Kumar and V. Aishwarya from Bhavans Rajaji Vidyashram, Pavan Kapnadak and E. E. Narendhiran from Kola Sarawati Vaishnav Senior Secondary School participated. The group discussion revolved around what students think about
To watch and post comments on the group discussion log on to www.youtube.com/papyrusclubsvideos
This is what they had to say…
Festivals are an occasion for us to spend quality time with our family. Most of us hardly know our first and second cousins, aunts and uncles. Our festivals are designed in such a way that we get to meet everybody and perform rituals together, which in turn promotes social unity and brotherhood. At times, certain expenditures are needed to make a festival lively; this helps us spend quality time with the family. To get the feel of the day and make it different from the normal days, you do need a little bit of colour, pomp and grandness that gives a break from monotony. If the festivals were not grand, then nobody would look forward to them. Extravagance, is a “Mark of one’s individuality.” Celebration does not mean wastage; we spend it to find a true festive meaning, or to make a festival more meaningful. There is a reason behind every single ritual. It is up to us; we can become a miser and miss out on all the fun or enjoy all the celebrations.
On the other hand a few of them had the following things to say:
We don’t need money; we need time to make a festival meaningful. Happiness does not come along with excess expenditure. In fact, festivals seem like opportunities for a few people to make a big show for seeking attention. For instance, during Diwali, people generally buy expensive clothes, cars; get their house renovated etc. Not to forget the expenditure on crackers. They compete as to who bursts the most. Leave aside the sound and air pollution, what about the disturbance that is caused to the senior citizens? Most of the time it is the attention seeking people who display extravagance! “Festivals were meant to come closer to god in olden times, now it’s a day-off or shop-till-you-drop!”
Where is the true meaning of festival??? People are forgetting about the various rituals that are meant to be done together. Agreed, a little bit of expenditure is required, but at the cost of what? The reason for the grandness in a festival is that everybody meets up, dines together and they retain their culture and tradition. Hence extravagance is not needed, it promotes oneself/family – being selfish, self-centred and pompous, leaving the true essence of the festival behind.
DISCUSSION- Students made a few points that were logical.
In the case of Ganesh Chaturti, almost every state celebrates this festival in a grand manner. There have been cases of people being hurt through stampede during Ganesh visharjan. “Rituals like idol dipping - Idols are not respected anymore. All the idols are thrown in the sea, people stamping the smaller ones (clay ones) to dip their own idol. What meaning does this have in the entire ritual?” Why should people have a separate idol, they might as well have a huge idol which will save up a lot of manpower and crowd.
“The bigger idols always get more importance? Isn’t god in every one of them?” Hence there is nothing wrong in immersing their idols. Yes, if there are more venues like ponds, wells, rivers or lakes the crowd would become scattered, hence the possibility of stampede is reduced to a great extent.
“Egoism does not matter if families are united; there is no need to spend money to make a festival meaningful.” You can still enjoy your festival by not having a feast at a five star hotel, instead having a lunch at home in the traditional style. This is what makes your festival more meaningful.
“Modernizing Rituals to suit our needs and pockets is wrong.” Just because you think that it becomes an expensive factor or a little tiring to follow rituals, it is wrong to alter them.
You don’t always get a chance to show love & affection everyday. So why not take the liberty, to buy presents, food, and spend time to loved ones.
Rituals turn rigid and cant always meet the demands that today’s world has to offer. It is a little difficult to get into the minute details. In fact our very existence is based on change. Hence there is nothing wrong in making a few alterations here and there; but not at the cost of laziness.
Scientific side of rituals like waking up early – Good for health and nothing else! Hence be logical.
People have lost themselves in extravagance that they forget the essence of Diwali, which is charity, new clothes for all, happiness, sharing and welcoming.
Workers in cracker factories needed?? Children/people – forced to work there – no one cares to see & improve matters for them. They earn a living from working there – if we do not want them to work there… What is the substitute???
Don’t need to burst so many crackers – why not deal with 1 box or 2 boxes. They should be enough!
Superstitions– it is passed down through generations and we are forced to carry it on. It is our duty to find the logic behind it and make a decision.
Find meanings behind these superstitions and choose for yourself!
Beliefs are something our hearts should follow, if we wish to. Towards the end only if our heart is happy we can be happy. If expenditure still matters– it’s personal choice. But the other fact is that in order to be happy and spend more quality time with loved ones-money need not be spent. Like the coin has two sides, expenditure does not keep one relaxed & happy, therefore take time and spend wisely. Keep in mind those who are less fortunate– why not be extravagant in helping them.
Understand your festivals well, know the reason behind every ritual, be wise and watch your actions. Keep festivities alive in your own unique way and be sure to pass it down to further generations.