There are occasions in the life of a community when its members give themselves up to jollity. There is joy and excitement. The dull routine of life is broken. People dress themselves up in their best.
Such occasions are called festivals. There is not a community which does not observe such occasions. They are an important link to connect the present with the past. Our society celebrates many festivals. Some are celebrated in the memory of our national heroes, to mark either their birth, or death. The Diwali and the Dussehra and the Janmashtami of the Hindus, Muharram of the Mohammedans, Christmas and Easter of the Christians are such festivals. Children enjoy themselves heartily. They dress themselves gaily. The bazaars wear .a festive look. The Diwali of the Hindus, particularly, is celebrated with great joy. The bazaars, streets and houses are illuminated. There are dazzling lights everywhere. The sweetoneat shops are a special attraction. Crackers are fired. Children make merry.
Then there are religious festivals. These are celebrated by the people professing different faiths. Christmas and Easter of the Christians, Raksha Bandhan and Ganga Snan of the Hindus, Id of the Muslims, Rath Yatra of the Jains and Gurparbs of the Sikhs are festivals of this kind.
There are some seasonal festivals also. They mark the beginning or the end of season. Holi, for example, marks the. end of the winter season. People sprinkle water on one another. They apply ‘gulal’ and other colours on the faces. They meet relatives and friends. Baisakhi marks the end of the harvesting season. The farmers make merry. Basant, again, marks the beginning of the spring season. Nature is at its best at this time. The season is very pleasant. It is neither very hot nor very cold.
There are some festivals which mark some important national events. The Independence Day and the Republic Day are the most important national festivals of India. These are observed as paid holidays throughout the length and breadth of the country. On the 15th of August every year, the Prime Minister unfurls the national flag and call upon the people to rededicate themselves to the country. The 26th January is observed to mark the beginning of a Republic Constitution for the country. It is celebrated in a colourful way in Delhi. The soldiers stage a march-past. Cultural pageants from different States are taken out in a procession. It is a day of great festivity for the young and the old.
Festivals are a special attraction for children. Students get holidays. Children get sweets of their choice. The elders too, have their share in the joy which is there everywhere. It is a matter of sorrow that some evils have crept in to some of these festivals. People, for example, have started gambling on the Diwali night. It is an evil which has been the cause of the ruin of many. Some people drink heavily on this holiday. Sometimes, communal riots take place when the-festivals of two communities are celebrated on the same day. We should condemn these evils and celebrate the festivals in a decent way.
It is only then that these festivals will serve the purpose for which they are celebrated. They will create the feeling of oneness in the people. They will purify their souls and give them peace of mind.