I’ve moved away from a lot of festivals steeped as they are in religion, the biggest reason for violence & turmoil in my country right now. I was talking to a stranger yesterday when I realised just that this is a good time to remember abundance. But it only feels like abundance when it is shared.
Two days ago, I was complaining about the noise of Lohri revelers when I learnt that a newly married couple usually celebrates it with extra fanfare. I know the importance of the first Pongal to a Tamilian couple. @poeticinventions chimed in telling me Lohri was the one Punjabi festival and again, I could relate because that’s how a lot of Tamilians think of Pongal – as our own, while the religious ones ‘belong’ to everyone. Food is so personal to us and so is fertility.
Festivals serve as such important social rituals in bringing a community together and giving us a sense of common purpose. Someone once told me that the United States of America adopted certain rituals and festivals to bring together their varied population and thus we have Halloween, Easter and an admittedly commercialised Christmas. India, on the other hand, steeped in rich tradition and ancient history is finding itself stuck and struggling to carry a very heavy past.
But this time of the year brings about a special festival that has nothing to do with what name you call God. It’s harvest season in a country that has always been agricultural. Lohri in Punjab, Makar Sankranti in and today, Pongal in Tamil Nadu. Cultures around the world have rituals of gratitude to the Earth for fertility, for productivity, for the food we are all privileged to eat. This is ours.
Especially in the current times of turmoil, harvest season feels especially important even if one is not a farmer. We all have to eat after all. The ground we are shedding blood over, serves us all. Today, I just want to be feel the abundance of being a part of this ecosystem at all. I am not a farmer but my little pot of soil expresses my love of all things living and keeps me mindful of bounty.
Happy harvest season and may abundance always find room at your table!