Wednesday, September 12, 2007

celebrations away from home

festivals are celebrated and rituals are followed with a lot more vigour by people when they are away from their homes/ land.

i noticed this first on campus when the entire student community in the hostel used to celebrate festivals like diwali and holi with a lot more enthusiasm and vigour than they normally would back home.

i recently read an article in the times of india about the onam celebrations in mumbai. the article had various malayalees reminiscing about how they celebrated onam in their villages back in kerala. these fond memories now inspire the malayalees all over the world (except, maybe in kerala itself) to relive the rituals and traditions of this festival.i would daresay that you could enjoy a more traditional onam celebration and meal in mumbai or dubai than in thiruvananthapuram itself!

i would assume this is the case with most other communities too.

i am sure all of us have our quota of cousins, relatives and friends in the us/ london/ australia, etc. who strive to keep their culture alive by attending bharatnatyam, carnatic music, kathak, tabla classes with a lot more vigour than they would if they were in their own home-land. i have noticed that this group also is very particular about performing various traditional rituals including pujas, punyajanam, festivals, etc. which they would not be following if they were back home.

i believe this zeal is born more from the need for the comfort from the sense of identity that they can hold on to than from the concern to keep their 'culture' alive.

and i think this is more true for the first-generation expatriate who has had some prior experience and exposure to some of these traditions before they departed to foreign shores.

distance not only seems to make the heart grow fonder, but also more zealous about our roots!

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