A community specially earmarks festival days when the daily routine is set aside to give way to celebrations marking some happy episode or occurrence having extraordinary significance.
Thus Holi festival for the Hindus, Eid for the Muslims and the Christmas forthe Christians are some popular festivals. The entire communities take a break from the daily routine and immerse themselves in the joyous activities. Relations, friends and acquaintances exchange greetings and gifts, prepare special food and engage in merry making. Children outdo the adults in the sheer enthusiasm they bring to their merry making activities. They always look forward to festivals and the revelries associated with them.
Labor or work has been called Adam’s curse, which was meted out to him for disobeying God. Man has t enerally seen enjoyment in detachment from or disjunction with work. Considering the hard and back breaking labor man had to perform to make both ends meet, he was perhaps justified in opposing pleasure to work.
For quite a few in the Third World work involved in earning a livelihood is still exacting and tiring. But for a fairly large numbers now, work need not be drudgery. It can be a voluntary participation in socially useful and humanly satisfying work. Why should there be drudgery in teaching the young ones whose wonder and curiosity is stimulating and satisfying to the teacher? Weaving of a beautiful shawl or making of acute handicraft gives the worker joy and satisfaction. There are few life- enhancing activities that do not occasion delight.
Primitive man worked hard in his work group and cultivated foodgrains and collected his season’s requirement. Thereafter, he spent all the time available to him in social gatherings and festivities till the onset of next working season. Unlike the cultivator, the hunter’s life could become a daily festival if he caught game regularly. Hunting, cultivation and food gathering activities were group and collective activities and were interspersed with and punctuated by feasting and revelries. Even in the modern era, people engaged in some occupations find frequent occasions to celebrate.
Sportsmen playing matches, singers releasing their albums celebrate the completion of the activity with partying and festivities. Only the man infected by the virus of competitiveness finds little inclination, time or resources to celebrate his daily activities.
Is not every dawn new, beautiful and harbinger of new hopes? Is not every cloud a messenger of a long awaited epistle of love? Is not every sunshine a way out of despair? Is not every evening a homecoming? Is not every night an invitation of the beloved for rest and recuperation? It is a sacrilege to bypass the riches of joys that meet you daily at every step and to March grimly toward some vague, undefined and uncertain achievements? Catch festive time by the horn and squeeze the last drop of nectar from it.
The famous English poet, John Keats, has a useful advice to give to people suffering from occasional fit of melancholy:
But when the melancholy fit shall fall
Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
And hides the green hill in an April Shroud;
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,
Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
Or on the wealth of globed peonies;
Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows, .
Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave,
And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.
Nature has unlimited capacity to refill the world with potential joy and riches. We, earthlings, are as yet unaware of the enormous untapped riches of other planets, solar systems and galaxies at the disposal of nature.
The sprouting of a seed, flowering of a bud and the flower becoming a fruit occasion a series of festivals .A poet celebrating a new idea is a festivity. A painter materializing a new color combination calls for festivities. A composer bringing forth a new symphony has a legitimate ground for celebrations.
Every loosening of the bond or elimination of a chain in the poor man’s life is an occasion for festivities. When a child takes the first step or utters the first word, he initiates a festival for the parents.