It is that time of the year in India when the festival mood sets in. Planning for the celebrations is a joy in itself and has its own charm. Shopping, sending out invitations for friends and families and gifting our loved ones are all usually in full swing and rightfully so, because in India, when it comes to celebrations, we like to do it king size.
Why not? In a land of varied cultures, festivals are beautiful reasons that bring us together. But the ongoing pandemic has taught us the true meaning of change and how we should embrace it. While celebrations need not wait, caution is still the buzz word with the second wave that has still not tapered enough and the worry of a third looming in front of us.
Here are some tips to stay safe while celebrating this year.
Shop online – Even as celebrations are not anywhere close to how it used to be, the pomp and joy of shopping need to take a back seat. In fact, it is important to hold back on doing festival shopping as this keeps businesses running smoothly. Shopping online well in advance is a safe bet as people thronging malls and shopping areas are not what is called for during this time. Even if visiting malls or shops is what you would want to do, maintain covid appropriate behavior is absolutely necessary.
Virtual parties – Holding virtual gatherings or parties have become second nature to many of us in the last one year and it is also a way to stay safe while still being in touch with the ones that we would want to be with on special occasions. Technology has undeniably played a huge role in bridging the physical distance brought by the pandemic. Sending virtual greetings and also making videos for our loved ones are all fun ways to feel close to our friends and family.
Keeping up with traditions – We may not be able to visit religious places or places of worship right now as it is important to not contribute to the spread of the virus. But that does not mean traditions that we love should be forgotten. We can opt for online darshans which most places of worship are live streaming and also organize virtual poojas or satsangs.
Make it meaningful - There has never been a better time than now to value human connection and collective wellness. Make it a point this festival season to focus on kindness, be there for each other and make a meaningful contribution in whichever way you can towards the wellbeing of people who need it.
Giving gifts – Giving gifts have become more special this past year as most of us have an understandable urge to compensate for our physical absence with our loved ones. Choosing thoughtful and creative gifts is a good gesture and do so while making sure you don’t do so by stretching beyond your means.
Don’t give in to peer pressure – It is very normal to feel left out when people around us are making plans to celebrate. Each time you feel pressured to cave in to urges of meeting people or feel under pressure to break the rules, remind yourself the importance of staying safe for yourself and others around you. Some of us can also feel anxious and pressured about making our family and loved ones happy and unable to do so due to the restrictions brought in by the pandemic. At these times, try to remain calm and remind yourselves why these restrictions are in place and how we all can collectively contribute to a healthier society.
While this may be an exciting time of the year, it is also common to feel not so upbeat due to how the pandemic has changed the way we celebrate. If you feel overwhelmed, weigh the need to be in a full-swing celebration mode against the need of well-being of yourself and others. This will put a lot of things in perspective. With caution in mind and love in your heart, this festive season can be as joyful as ever for you and everyone around you.