Post Diwali, I was sharing my chivda and mathri (#NamakPara  #Shankarpale #Nimki #SaltySnacks #FestivalFood) making story with a friend.

She asked me; what I liked the most about festivals?

Was it the holiday that festivals bring along?

Was it indulgence in a variety of food?

Was it dressing up?

Or was it about following the rituals?

I replied; all of those things.

She persisted; really, you even like rituals?!

I said; YES, VERY MUCH. 

Since childhood, I have been quite keen in following all the rituals with my family, be it festive or others.

This snap chat left my friend in surprise. But it left me pondering for days. I pondered about rituals, only to realise that it wasn’t a word but a philosophy that influences our behavior.

If we label festivals as holiday, food, dressing up and rituals, the first three are Pro #InstaLike. But the last one (Rituals) is a debatable subject. Especially, festive rituals are highly debatable, because festivals mean cultural rituals. And anything that involves culture, has the capability to shape our behavior.

Behavior is an expression of our innate qualities that bloom from a set of beliefs.

I continued to ponder.

Soon my mind flew me back to the 90s.

I was a school-going girl then. A child who was ever excited to see her parents indulge in a dozen of rituals on the day of festival. In fact, we would start preparing for festivals days in advance. This was a family ritual.

Deepavali rituals were my most favourite. Overall, I had an innate fascination for all festivals for the rituals they brought along.

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What I enjoyed more was the participative nature of these rituals. I remember being a part of hanging an akash kandeel in the right direction and at the right level. I helped my sister join the dots to form a beautiful rangoli. I also remember taking the plate full of oil filled clay diyas from mumma and placing it across the boundary of our house. Also I kept running around the house saying ‘yes papa’ to make our house #LaxmiPuja ready before the mahurat.

I had a natural liking for all festive rituals. But it is not the case with every child.

It is obvious for children to ask ‘WHY’ and sometimes it is alright for them to say NO as well.

Children either copy or question. Because they definitely don’t like to follow the unknown. If parents don’t address their ‘WHYs’, they would either Google or simply throw a googly at their expectations! Either ways, the child is less likely to participate in the ritual because Google Sir can never give them the confidence that parents can. As parents we need to address their curiosity. We then need to guide them logically and reasonably to follow our rituals.

Rituals are not always religious or festive. Rituals are acts that are time and action specific and mostly repetitive in nature.

The recent Diwali celebration made me realise that festivals are the right time for parents and the big bro and sis in the house to introduce their kids / siblings to their culture. It is the apt platform to let them explore the unknown and create an experience of their own. Festivities always bring a wave of happiness and this is the time when children are filled with joy. So what better a time to expose the young minds to a ritual ! After all, a happy mind explores new things with a lot of zeal. It performs better. And a happy mind is always more receptive.  #TheHappinessAdvantage.

Remember what Albert Einstein said, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

If a child’s experience is joyful while performing or exploring an act for the first time, he / she would want to willfully pursue it year after year. When they like something, they indulge with full vigour. Hence, we often see children adding their own stroke of creativity to festive rituals.

If a child’s experience is joyful while performing or exploring an act for the first time, he / she would want to willfully pursue it year after year.

When they like something, they indulge with full vigour. Hence, we often see children adding their own stroke of creativity to festive rituals.

As parents or elder siblings, we must encourage children customizing the rituals. This shows that they have accepted the rituals with all their heart. This is the time when a ritual is deemed to have passed on to the next generation in the right fashion.

Accepting the known is always better than following the unknown.

If festive rituals are handed-over in the right manner, the subsequent generations shall be more participative and welcoming towards these events. The larger the number of participants during festivals, the greater the fun.

If children are explained the festive rituals well in the early years, it can act as a good means to encourage participation in children. Participation makes them feel good. It makes them feel they are a part of the decision making team. They feel empowered. And empowered children always have a positive, warm and an impressive personality.

The festivities come to an end. But the curiosity triggers of such children stay on. They move on to explore the other unknowns. These other unknowns could be the family rituals.

Family rituals are acts that a family believes in and hence practices on a regular basis. These could include; cooking and eating together, Saturday sport, Sunday cleaning, nature indulgence, storytelling, sharing the day’s experience and the like. Let children-of-the-house explore the family rituals. Their exploration shall lead to participation again. And for children to participate in a sustained manner, the family must consider tweaking some rituals or designing a few new in accordance to children’s liking.

The journey of participation must go on. Because participation is not an activity but a process.

As the child grows up, he / she shall start exploring on his / her own. This discovery pushes him to think not just profoundly but rationally. It also makes the child think creatively and explore newer ways of doing things more confidently.

The child further grows up to be a working professional and a leader. At this stage, the curiosity and rational thinking helps him navigate his path to success while building more trusting and collaborative relationships.

When this professional becomes a leader, he / she always fosters a working environment where people participate willfully and earns regular dividends of a strong team support. Such leaders tend to command more respect from their team. And such teams always enjoy the happiness advantage. 

Rituals help children develop the power to explore, think rationally and participate.

This is possible only if parents take the onus of introducing the rituals in the right way to their children and not just push them to participate.

Let the smartphone not take over our responsibility. Let us be patient in allowing them follow the process of participation.

Let them explore.

Let them evaluate the results rationally.

Let them participate with willingness.