The Sacred Times of Your Sacred Times
A festival is an annual event usuallycelebrated by a group and usually centered around a theme feature of the religion or cultural community of the participating community. It can be regularly celebrated to mark a special occasion or as a national or local holiday. Some festivals have universal significance and are widely observed even outside the participating country or culture. Examples of such are Christmas and New Year’s Day in the United States, Easter and Passover in the Jewish People, Hainan’s New Year celebrated with colors, music, and dances, and Diwali in India.
Feathered traditions are significant feasting traditions observed in the Hindu, Chinese, and Korean religions and, to a lesser extent, in the European and American traditions. In Hinduism, Durga Puja, which is the festival of “lightning in the house and free gifts” is seen as auspicious. In Chinese culture it is the spring festival when gold and silver are abundant in many of the prosperous areas. In Korea it is the Chuseok festival which features huge celebration and includes huge fireworks display.
Feasting, in turn, marks time set aside for social interaction and enjoyment. Unlike most other types of celebrations it is usually not dependent on ceremonial activities but on family interaction and enjoyment. A Christian celebration of St. Valentine’s Day is marked by flowers, gifts, chocolate, and lingerie, while celebrating St. John’s Day in the United States involves a dinner, poems, poetry, candy, and dinner. Chinese celebrations of different events mark time set aside for learning and socializing, while an Islamic festival of Eid celebrates the end of Ramadan with firework display. Hindu celebrations mark their luck with yam and other grains and vegetables while the Muslims mark their festivals with grand fireworks display.
Festivals add excitement and fun to our lives, allowing us to participate and be a part of something bigger than ourselves. It is this excitement and joy that fuels the spirit of every person who decides to celebrate a special occasion like the latest movies, singers, and food festivals. As globalization continues to bring people together from every part of the world, we are seeing more festivals being celebrated internationally. By celebrating each festival internationally we can strengthen our ties to our family, friends, and neighbors, while we continue to enjoy our personal freedom and economic prosperity.
Of course, the traditional festivals celebrated around the world have been adapted for our modern times and are no less meaningful or important. Every year in February we mark the Chinese New Year, hosting large parades and countless festivities. India celebrates the Hindu festivals of Diwali and Holi with much flair. Other cultures celebrate with gusto, every year, like Malaysia with Songkran, Korea with Bokchol, and Japan with the Japanese New Year.
No matter how you celebrate the festivals or where you celebrate them, it is important that we remember that they are not celebrations, but are rather sacred rituals. They are a way to honor and pay homage to the many different religions and beliefs held by countless people all over the world. They are also a way to welcome in the New Year with warmth and excitement, instead of sadness and fear that marked the beginning of the year. By celebrating each festival with enthusiasm and grace, we can start the healing process of the holidays by taking a deep breath and a smile. After a few days we will look forward to our next celebration with much more excitement and hope, and I know you will be able to feel this same spirit once again as our beautiful Festivals begin again this New Year.