Festivals are a time to rejoice, spend quality time with family, visit friends, a time to relish wonderful snacks and sweets. Children enjoy festivals the most even though they might not understand the reason behind and the concept of each festival. However, they like the decorations, the laughter and the camaraderie.
In India, we get an opportunity to experience several festivals. Besides the most popular festivals like Diwali, Holi and Christmas, every state has its own festivals which they celebrate in various degrees of fervour and enthusiasm. Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Baisakhi in Punjab, Durga Puja in West Bengal. People belonging to a particular state, living in another state try to follow the practises and rituals with equal zeal.
Children learn the meaning and symbols of every festival at the school where most festivals are celebrated, and activities related to them are conducted. However, children learn more about these festivals at home.
When they see their mothers making a certain type of food item or a sweet dish, it triggers the discussion on the significance of making that food item. Various folktales and epics can be narrated. This also means the duty of the parents to brush up on their knowledge of facts and storytelling skills! All this leads to an ambience of knowledge sharing and helps children realise the value of our rich culture and heritage.
It gives an opportunity to children to invite their friends over to share the festivities. They also go back to school with new information and things to share.
It doesn’t matter how closely one follows each ritual, what matters is that children are told about the meaning of each custom. As children grow older, they begin to question the relevance of these rituals, and that is fine as it’s a part of growing up. Parents should react to such discussions positively because it is this ability to critically question everything which makes for adults who are good decision makers and who do not get easily brainwashed into the following something blindly. Respect your children’s decisions and they will respect you!