India, often hailed as the land of festivals, celebrates a festival almost every fortnight. At their core, these festivals provide an opportunity to invite celebration and joy into our lives. Moreover, they offer chances to connect with various natural elements, as they are deeply interspersed with nature.
Indians attach a lot of earnestness to celebrating their festivals. Diwali, for instance, is a festival where the fun and merry-making last almost a week. Let’s explore how festivals contribute to making our lives better at various levels – both physically and psychologically.
The humdrum of daily existence is broken by our festivals, allowing us to step away from the monotony of routine life. It offers a change – something different from our normal days – and gives us a reason to do things we may otherwise not be able to do in our day-to-day life. The change during festivals refreshes the human body and spirit.
The last time you enjoyed attending a funeral, which also saw a lot of your friends and family present on the same occasion is likely non-existent. No one enjoys gathering together at somber events. In contrast, coming together for Holi, Navratri, or Diwali imbues our hearts with joy and music.
The festival is often linked to religion, providing an opportunity to contemplate the higher reality when otherwise caught up in the work-home-office-kids routine. It allows one to relate to a higher ideal at times when life passes by very fast.
The festival, whether it be Dussera, Eid, or Easter, is often preceded by fasting rituals – Navratri fasting, Ramzan, Lent. It offers human beings an opportunity to instill discipline. Practicing restraint, such as not eating your favorite foods or giving up your cherished things, becomes more manageable during festivals. It’s almost as if the divine force endows you with special discipline to observe your fasting period with steadfastness.
Diwali is that time when everyone is investing in their personal grooming, trying to look their best. Have you tried going for a haircut just a day before Diwali? Chances are it may have not been easy to get an appointment of your choice with your stylist.
The effect of sprucing up just a small physical space in your home is as if you have dusted the cobwebs of your mind. You feel lighter and clearer in your head. Now, imagine the benefits of Diwali cleaning where you ensure your entire home is spic and span! Diwali cleaning is nothing short of being therapeutic!
The pretty things that we associate with Diwali, such as beautiful diyas, spectacular rangolis, attractive kandeels hanging from our windows, and the lovely thorans outside the main door of our homes, are not merely empty rituals. The act of beautifying your living space allows you to connect with yourself creatively. The designing of the rangoli and other such pursuits becomes a lesson in mindfulness, teaching you to fix your attention unwaveringly on your goals, even after Diwali.
Social get-togethers are great for promoting our well-being. Close contact with your loved ones can help to release feel-good hormones such as serotonin and oxytocin. The act of offering prayers to a higher force, which most festivals are connected with, teaches us to be grateful. The vibrations, the sights, and sounds of festivals make us feel good, which has a positive effect on our mental health.
The festive celebration is culturally incomplete without lip-smacking meals! Monitoring calories is on hold. It’s best to take the middle path. In order to avoid the after-effects of over-indulging, be mindful. Listen to our body. As much as possible, minimise the consumption of store-bought sweets made with white sugar. Use natural sweeteners such as dates, jaggery, and raisins. The festival also calls for looking your best. Diwali discounts can be hard to resist. Shop for how much you need, not how much you desire. Desires are unlimited.
Diwali involves the lighting of firecrackers during Laxmi Pujan. In the wake of the Climate Crisis, we have to understand that too many crackers will cause pollution. Keep it symbolic and not go overboard. We have a duty towards keeping the planet, our larger home, clean. We also have to be sensitive to animals and birds who may be pained by the loud sounds of crackers.
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