Photo: Lisbon Voice

I love creating and deciphering acronyms. Here is one that I created right off the bat as I was writing this.

FESTIVAL – Familial Effervescent Socialization Together Infusing Verisimilitudinous Abundant Love.

Festival is a noun that carries a breeze of happiness, buoyancy and relaxation as soon as you hear it. One can typically describe it as ballyhoo filled with exuberance. The idea of a festival can be related to that of a cake, having all the rightly needed elements composed to fill up your heart. Layers of happiness referring to the chocolaty layers, based on a religious notion referring to the raw cakey-base, finished with a sprinkle of rejoice as chocolate chips and carvings, topped with tribal love to clue one in. It is definitely a composition that is fitly needed to retain togetherness in the society.

The word was originally used as an adjective in the late fourteenth century deriving from Latin via Old French. It was later on recorded as a noun for the first time in 1589. Earlier festivals were exalted for having large feasts. The term “feast” was first used in 1200s which was a synonym for a large or elaborate meal. This explains that festivals basically were discerned as an assemblage with socially aligned motives to spend time in good harmony with each other. Oxford dictionary defines the word `festival’ as a day or period of celebration typically for religious reasons. Etymology of festivals can be dated back to several 100 centuries which signals the second aspect of the word `festival’ which goes off as the jollification of a religious belief, notion or it can just be the remembrance of a historical event. Traditionally we have been seeing a plethora of festivals each having some or the other story for resemblance. Few festivals namely Egyptian Harvest Festival, Diwali, Christmas, Holi, Eid, and many more can be dated as far as the period where Gods ruled our land. World progresses, people advance and new ideologies give birth to new festivals. Few of them emanated from the modern ideologies that include festivals such as Carnival, St. Patrick’s day, and many more which have been contemporarily formed. Few wacky festivals such as The Burning Man festival, Oktober fest, Lantern festival, etc have been celebrated largely by the recent generation of humans and the millennial.  

   Usually, a date or an occasion is selected and agreed with the consent of the community to celebrate a festival. That inferring a public holiday to everyone either geographically related to that festival or being influenced by the culture. People jubilate a ceremony on the day with an event or a gathering that includes having meal together, dancing and even singing. While a few consider their festivals as an aeon of enthusiastic celebration, others consider the day as a holy day meaning rituals are to be ensued regarding their beliefs. A festival can be celebrated for a day or even weeks. It can be a closely arranged celebration or even a mass celebration; a noisy celebration or just a calm affair.

A festival is the core sense of socialization. A feeling to pal around with the desire to remember the good past is a worthy cause that stimulates our yen. Society has immense amounts of festivals some of which are largely celebrated in the world by a gargantuan amount of population. But why do people still celebrate festival? Why is the remembrance necessary? Why rituals, customs, traditions or a particular way to celebrate? How far is this going to be continued? Well, these are few questions that often boggle the minds of the kids or even some of the curious and slightly philosophical adults. But if you sit to think, you will find the answers are exactly what the society needs right now. Amidst of all the catastrophic risks such as terrorism, war threats, Supremacism, Arms race, Ethnic cleansing, and many other things; the festivals act as an underlying to the togetherness and the need of integrity in the society. Festivals are a proof that unity, cohesiveness and solidarity exists prominently among all the hearts. The pristine nature of the deed is a sturdy answer to all the impugning negativities that try to break us apart. News channels are covered with gloomy news every now and then but a flash of celebration with people joining and enjoying the moment together gives a speck of hope and is at least a drop in the bucket. To make it more vivid, examples of celebrations such as Diwali which is celebrated for the lights which stand for hope; or Christmas which is celebrated for the birth of the savior – Jesus ,or Ganesh Chaturti which is to be celebrated for the birth of lord Ganesha signifies morally limpid beliefs of the people.

Apart from all the pros and cons in the world, festivals also serve the part of remembering the history and the good past. It is the most elegant way to celebrate the origin of something. Celebrating the history is important because it raises a sense of reverence among young hearts and also educates them with ideologies of good deed and ethicality which is more or less the story behind every festival.

Another important aspect of festivals is the holiday for that period. Well it is not your typical Sunday to kick back and relax. Celebrations are to be carried with family and the society by coming together for a common cause and a hearty reason to celebrate. The reason for the holiday becomes meaningfully beautiful. Love, enthusiasm, joy is in the air during festive season.

     Well in this one festival, I feel like an outsider as well as an insider. I don’t compulsorily celebrate but I always have the choice to participate and join others that are celebrating it and I even prefer to.  You can say it is celebrated in an enormous volume all over the world.

Christmas– it is celebrated during the winter but the anticipation begins months ago. Mistletoes, bells, gifts and tinsels; Christmas trees, stockings, Santa Claus, and Christmas carols; this is just enough to put you on a dream cloud with the theme of a cold carpet under your feet, carols in the distant, a lush Christmas tree that you picked from a nearby store and the merry climate all over.  Movies such as The Grinch who stole Christmas, Home Alone, The Polar Express have been my favourite since childhood which are enough to give a gist about the festival.

To dwell into the history but keeping it simple, it is celebrated for the Nativity of Jesus Christ by Christians all over the world. The only festival that Christianity follows largely is Christmas. It is observed on the 25th of December which has been marked as the day when Jesus Christ was born. The twelve days of Christmas also known as the Twelvetide includes various customs and traditions that are followed by the people during the festive period.The Christmas tree symbolizes the spirit of Christmas season, and the everlasting life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Photo : Wikipedia

People decorate their homes and gardens with lights, Christmas tree and many more. Children, in particular, often receive a lot of gifts from their parents, relatives and the highly popular mythical creature Santa Claus.

There’s no place like home for holidays. A favourite carol among the cult that came out of the sentiment that the best place to celebrate Christmas holidays is your home with family and friends.       

Everything being the same except a White Christmas and you get the idea of Christmas in India. It is celebrated exactly the same way and I have been witnessing the pure magic that it diffuses in the air during that time which is a scene worth experiencing. You got the insight of Christmas from the above discussion but here is my take as an outsider, yet feeling so acquainted with the festival. For me, I love taking walks during the Christmas Eve. The joy and a vibe of merriness completely infiltrate the air to every nook and corner. It is an ecstatic feeling to see such a mass celebration with many people coming together and inviting everyone with open arms to celebrate with them. The idea of presenting gifts on the day, the lore of Santa Claus and his sleigh pulled by the reindeers, the birth of Jesus Christ is just a divine feeling to every heart that lives to observe this festival. Walking the streets even in India gives just a relevant feeling for once as this same festival is carried in the major parts of the world at the same time. The streets tend to look red, white and green which typically is the color of Christmas. Heads floating with Christmas hats, and even some parents taking home the attire of Santa Claus and the red Santa bags just makes me want to go back in my childhood and relive the fun. From hooking up stockings to a wall, to sleeping with the excitement of getting a glimpse of Santa, to actually hearing HO! HO! HO! my parents made every Christmas a special one for me. I admit to having celebrated the festival marginally yet authentically. I even remember getting gifts from the secret Santa which turned out to be my mom later on when I grew up. Christmas period is such a paradise to the kids as well as the adults.

Above all, Christmas to me will always be what Diwali is to the Christians- a festival of lights with immense euphoric bubbles in the air that when popped will disseminate a spray of holiness.  Moreover, the festival basically narrates a story of sacrifice, the good resisting the evil, and an eternal triumph. This should be the inspiration of the principles to live by in the contemporary world. Nevertheless, Christmas will always be cherished as a festival just so magically composed to bring a wide smile on everyone’s faces, be it the students at the school or the employees at the office, a shop owner or even the busiest people people, as ‘Tis the season. 



Author BioHarshavardhan Salve, 20 years old student from Mumbai.A participant of International Essay Competition, October.



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