Festivals mean many different things to me and they engage all my senses. Festivals are about the history of celebrating that festival through time and in different parts of the world. They are about art in terms of the music connected to that festival, about visual art and even the dresses we wear on the day of the festival. Festivals are about family and society which comes together during festivals to celebrate together or at the very least greet each other. Most importantly they are about the food which to me brings together all the different aspects and combines the outside with the inside.
Festivals also hold a mirror to society and tells me what are we about, our state of affairs, what excites us and how do we celebrate (or not celebrate). Although festivals take their spiritual basis from religion, they have become so much more and are part of our culture. It would seem strange to me to live anywhere and not wish everyone for Xmas, Eid or Diwali. Living in a country which I still don’t quite understand , festivals are an excellent way of connecting, understanding and eagerly peering through that mirror into the lives of my fellow countrymen. Some of them embrace the festivities, some run away to warmer climates, others hibernate and some paint Friday black.
One thing that I have stood for all my life is that I belong to all religions. I like to wish everyone and be in turn wished for all festivals and then partake in the food and drink ! Nothing irritates me more is when people for some reason assume that I will take offence at being wished Merry Xmas and instead wish me a Happy Festive Season. I accept if someone who doesn’t celebrate Xmas doesn’t want to wish me Merry Xmas but if you wearing a Santa hat and clearly very festive, happy festive season is not good enough.
So have a good Xmas. That wasn’t so hard.