Written by Siddhi Latey (Weloquent)
As the air turns crisp and cool and the days grow shorter, the world eagerly awaits the warmth of festivals to lighten the mood. The joy of celebrating the holiday season is exciting especially this year which up until now has not been the best for most of us. With this new normal of self-quarantining, and social distancing, let’s groom ourselves for the upcoming festivities, and re-discover the true spirit of celebration.
For those of us who celebrated Diwali this past month, the festivities have already begun. We deep cleaned our houses, bought new clothes, lit diyas, painted colourful rangolis, and distributed gifts and sweets amongst relatives, friends, neighbours, and loved ones. Those who celebrated Thanksgiving did so with their family gathering together for a typical dinner that includes turkey, bread stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving aims to celebrate the harvest and other blessings of the past year. Most of us now await Christmas, a festival that highlights peace, love, and joy marked by the birth of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated with gifts beneath the Christmas tree and singing of carols.
While we might not have been able to carry out several of the aforementioned traditions since we’re all social-distancing, we can still celebrate our joys by turning an inward eye and learning how to truly embrace the essence of the holiday season. The following are some ways in which we can make the most of the holiday season amidst a pandemic:-
Clean Your Living Spaces, and Clear Your Minds
Festivals are often preceded by thorough cleaning of the house to welcome our guests. However, this time when we indulge in deep cleaning of the house, let us also focus on the cleaning of our minds. Let’s sweep off any anger, hate, dislike negative thoughts and emotions towards everybody who might have mistreated us in the past, and instead fill our hearts with positivity.
Consider using this time alone to indulge in self-care. Speak to yourself, tell yourself you are proud of who you are today. Listen to yourself, dig out your emotions, and embrace your past. Take a couple days off from work and study to treat yourself to all that you enjoy doing, eating and being.
Eat Sweet, Be Kind
All festivals include a celebration that involves an exchange of sweets. From ladoos, to apple pies and candy, no matter who visits us we ensure they help themselves to something sweet. Have you ever wondered why? The tradition is practiced with the belief that eating sweet things will “sweeten our mouths” so that every word that is said is sweet, kind and makes people happy.
It is a reminder to be respectful, kind, sweet, and empathetic. This year, while you prepare these sweets, consider attaching a personal note of gratitude, forgiveness and love to the respective people who require the same in your life. Just because you aren’t with them in person, should not stop you from making “sweet” memories together.
Gift What You Would Like to Receive
The tradition of gifting, be it for Diwali or Christmas has become a stressful affair for many. We get so caught up in saving money for expensive gifts, that we forget that the best gift of all is blessings. While a gift can bring joy, the true happiness comes from the intention and feeling behind the gift.
Remember, gifting is not a business deal and that irrespective of what you give, it must be packed with love and wrapped with blessings to truly celebrate the essence of festivities. This holiday season, give your loved ones simple gifts like books you enjoyed reading, handwritten letters, home baked cookies, and hand painted cards.
Let There Be Light
The tradition of lighting diyas during Diwali and trees during Christmas holds a special meaning. It signifies the extending of days into nights and the enlightening of our souls. It is a reminder to use knowledge and wisdom to keep the flame of life alive.
This year, as we celebrate the joy of festivals through video calls and social distancing, let us continue to light up our homes as if we were having a party, while also promising ourselves to always keep learning, keep friends and family close, and make the most of this season. Remember, light always prevails over darkness, truth over deceit, love over hatred, and knowledge over ignorance.