MIDWAY : Celebrations

We celebrate when we are happy and want to share our happiness with others. But every celebration calls for a just cause. Dashain, for instance, is celebrated as the victory of good over evil. The extent of a celebration depends on the extent of happiness. The greater the number of happy people because of a particular event, the greater the cause for celebration; hence the fanfare accompanying traditional festivals. Here, happiness of each person coalesces into a collective happiness. Be it in a sporting arena or an opera hall, we like to celebrate en masse. It’s the shared sense of jubilation that bonds two or more disparate people.

Of course, celebration is not only the preserve of human beings. Animals celebrate too. And if some botany boffins are to be believed, so do the plants. It is noteworthy that even among the animals, an ‘isolated celebration’ is quite uncommon.

They are rather given to playful herd activities, which might look a tad inane by human standards. But, if anything, their deficiency in certain human faculties like critical thinking might actually be a boon. When people think a lot, they tend to get sad: worrying too much about the most trivial of problems. Who knows, we might have had a few more occasions to celebrate were we animals! But again, do they even know they are celebrating when they are?

In a similar vein, happy-go-lucky people can find a thousand reasons for celebration. But put a n’er-do-well in his place and he will start griping and grumbling about everything under

the sun. But is any kind of celebration justified? Even while one person celebrates, another might be in depths of despair — possibly because of the former. A teen dance party might sound a death knell for an elderly neighbour.

Hence it’s wise to take stock of broader implications of one’s celebration. The spirit of true celebration lies in its inclusion of as wide an audience as possible. There can be no such thing as a “selfish celebration”, for it will only be indulging one’s vices, not a celebration per se. This principle applies to the celebration of Dashain, too. Let’s therefore celebrate every festival by strengthening our mutual bonds and fellow feeling.