MONSOON HERALDS the beginning of the festival seasons in India. Soon, there will be Raksha Bandhan, Ganesh Chaturthi, Navratris, Dussehra, Diwali, Christmas, New Year, Pongal, Holi, Lohri, Baisakhi, and many-many others including National Celebrations such as Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti.
For children, festivals naturally generate a great deal of excitement. For one thing, a festival means chutti - a holiday from school and other routine. And then of course, there are the celebrations that make the day such fun.
Because of the rush, hurry and scramble of routine life, most adults also perceive festivals as a break from the daily grind. But we need to remind ourselves that festivals are much more than just a chutti.
In India, our festivals are a vital connection as well as the living expression of our rich cultural heritage. They are occasions for renewing the bonds of love and relationships, of forgiving and forgetting enmity, of coming together to celebrate the spirit of hope, brotherhood.
Children learn social values from their parents. We need to make them understand the deeper meaning behind a festival, beyond the rituals and exchange of obligatory gifts. It is an expression of joy and a celebration of family and kinship, the very foundation of Indian society.
Tell them the significance of the day and nature the myths related to it. Let them help you with the preparations and become familiar with the rituals. Make them realize that the price of the gifts doesn't matter, it is the give and take of emotions that counts.
We need to ensure that our children go beyond the outer trappings of expensive gifts, exciting fireworks or cool parties. We must ensure that they understand the significance of the day.