With the Shravan month itself, the festive season has kicked in for many parts of India. In Shravan, we had Raksha Bandhan, Onam, and Janmashtami. As Shravan gives way to Bhadrapada, we are preparing to welcome the most favorite lord of many, Lord Ganesha, next week. As we all know, Ganesh Chaturthi is falling on 13th September, and a day before that, many of us will also do the Gowri Pooja. Navaratri kicks in on 10th October, Karwa Chauth on 27th October and then the Diwali on the 7th November, followed by Bhai Dooj and Chath Pooja also, in November. Id-e-Milad falls on 21st November and Guru Nanak Jayanthi on 23rd November. And as usual, to culminate all the festivals, we have Christmas on 25th December, as the New Year kicks in. So, indeed, it is one of the most festive seasons kicking in most Indian households.
Festive seasons are always welcome and involve a lot of socializing. There are visits to temples, gurudwaras, mosques, and churches. Family members are visiting for the holidays, there are others who are usually traveling for the holiday season, and there is lots of food to be made. Each festival has certain things associated with it like Poojas and delicacies for Ganesh Chaturthi, fasting for Karwa Chauth as well as Navratri, and then the various Poojas for Navratri.
Diwali needs preparations regarding lamps, lighting, sweets, firecrackers (avoidable), and Pooja items. It kicks in special prayers and festivities, and Christmas heralds the church visit, the special lunches or dinners, etc. Each of these festivals will need a lot of planning and preparation and associated shopping. Hence, prepare a shopping list and check your kitchen to see what is missing and needs to be stocked up.
If you prepare sweets and savories at home, list them down and purchase the ingredients. If you are fasting and on a special diet, then list down the things that are in the allowed to eat list and buy them. If you celebrate Christmas, then plan for the Christmas tree and the gifts and the Christmas lunch or dinner as may be the case. On Diwali, plan what all sweets and gifts, you will exchange with the friends and family.
Once, you plan the menu, and finish your shopping, plan your cooking and decoration schedule. Usually, Diwali cleaning is a must in many Indian households. So, plan this well, and ensure that you run through the complete house, including attics, garages and the likes. Remove all clutter, dust the whole house, change the curtains, re-arrange the furniture if required, and set up the lighting for the Diwali, Christmas and New Year, whichever may be the case.
It is important to understand one’s limitations, and not do everything in one go, or even do it by self if health does not permit. One should not fall sick during the festive season because of exhaustion, exposure to dust resulting in any allergy attacks, or eating lots of festive foods like sweets, etc. Remember to take your medicines, if any, as scheduled, even in the hectic schedule. It is always better to get help for such work (whether within the family or from outside), and not do it alone.
Passing on the baton
It is entirely possible that you have guests at home during the festive season and it is better to be prepared and enjoy the same. Involve everyone in the activities and have fun together. If you have grandchildren at home, involve them and educate them about each activity and tell them stories associated with the celebrations and why we follow certain customs. This can help pass on the traditions to the next generation as well. The younger generation is quite conscious and responsible and will generally ask lots of questions. We should be able to answer those questions and involve them that they start enjoying the festive season and will carry on the same in future as well.