Dr. Vis Blog 6 – Festival Time Is Also Friendship Renewal Time

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In each country and in each civilization, there are times set aside for festivals and celebrations. In the Christian world it is about Christmas and New Year. In the US it also includes Thanksgiving Day. In India, it is Diwali and Dusshera/Navarathri in addition to Christmas. Chinese celebrate Golden Week and so on.

I used to feel restless that so much time and money was being wasted towards these celebrations. It means buying new things, throwing out old things, cleaning out the places, having some kind of a function and then either go out and meet your friends and relatives and have a Thanksgiving Lunch or a Christmas party or a New Year Celebration and so on.

I was discussing this with a friend of mine – “Why does it have to be so many?”. For example, I think there are about 8 holidays in the US. In India or in Singapore the number is almost 25 days with holidays for many nationalities and religions. Together these come to quiet a number of days when the festivities are going on. It turned out that perhaps there was another reason for having so many festivals which have come to us down through the ages and our forefathers, I think, realized the importance that there should be friendship, harmony and togetherness amongst all people. You cannot be alone and be in solitude which can result in some other problems. For example, some of the so-called  ‘loners’ can resort to violence and even shoot children.

So how do you do it? You can only do it in events or festivals where you are forced to come together because in everyday life where you have to eke out a living, fight and compete and so on, there egos clashing, there are conflicting interests causing stress and friction in the relationship; there are instances where you take an instant dislike to a person and vice versa and you don’t even want to look at a person and the enmity only grows larger and larger. The advantage of these festivals is that you come together whether you like it or not. You call on each other and shake hands and bring the level of antagonism between two people to a civil and social level where you are OK to exchange pleasantries but not to the level where you will turn your face and walkaway when you see that other person. I think that is what is harmful because eventually we are all together on this earth and we all have one common purpose. In fact, in the movie Independence Day, you can feel when the aliens attack the world, all citizens come together. They feel they are part of one group which is the Earth and the differences of color, ethnicities, race, rich or poor are forgotten and we all have one common enemy who in the movie is threatening the Earth. Universal peace and harmony can only be achieved if there is a modicum of friendship and coming together either voluntary or willingly or forced by circumstances to come together. It is important to do this and as somebody said, “You first fake it and as you keep faking it, you make it.”  

If you fake friendship a few time, you will make it and that is good for all of us in this world and that is the reason why we should have these festivals where we cleanup the house, we decorate, we invite people, we cook up good food and we share everything and though it looks like a lot of waste of energy and time, this is wrong. It contributes to the emotional quotient, it contributes to the emotional well being and harmony and the community as a whole.

So let us come together and let us celebrate these events, whether it is Thanksgiving or Christmas or New Year or Diwali, let us come together, celebrate it and enjoy it.

Thank you.

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