Those old-world charms have faded, and a celebration of unity has given way to displays of wealth. Even the simple beauty of the floral carpet that the kids made has become a distant memory.
In my younger days, I remember kids searching for flowers in paddy fields and hillsides after school or at dawn. Nowadays, flowers are grown far away, like in Gundlupet.
Despite having the same amount of time in a day, we are always in a rush, and children are losing the joy of simple pleasures as they chase material dreams – theirs as well as their parents!
Living abroad, I have noticed how the spirit of traditional festival has spread to other parts of India and the world. Humorously, someone once said that Thrissur is no longer Kerala’s cultural capital, it’s Dubai. However, the essence of these festivals is still captured by various products, particularly beverages worth hundreds of crores that are sold during festive seasons.
But what about the excesses? We often forget the true meaning behind Onam while getting caught up in TV commercials and ads.
Celebrating the generosity of King Mahabali, who offered his head for Lord Vishnu to step on, has become a shopping spree. Shops of all kinds cash in during the Onam season, from textiles to electronics.
Have you ever remembered the local shop from where your dad used to buy simple garments?
For me, someone who values celebrations that highlight humanity’s importance, Onam should return to its roots of simple household festivities that bring neighborhoods together. Instead of spending lavishly, we could use some of that money to help those in need. This change would honour the benevolence of King Mahabali, who humbly placed his head for Vamana’s foot.
It is essential to preserve the heartfelt tale of a king who lived for others’ happiness and equality, as there are efforts to create counter narratives for Onam as well. So, let us allow stories of love and humanity to guide us in celebrating festivals with local flair and a global perspective on love.