Nowadays people view festivals as an opportunity to party and shop rather than to ponder their real significance. ‘Buy one get one free,’ ‘60% discount till stock last’ etc.
This is not just an advertisement, but what festivals have become today. They are seen as another reason for manufacturers mint money and for consumers to shop till they drop.
The purpose of festivals is lost. Gone are the days when people got up at five in the morning and recited prayers. With the world becoming one big rat race, most people have no time for religious ceremonies. It appears that the only people ‘religiously’ celebrating these festivals are the ‘Saas- Bahu’ pairs on television.
Shopkeepers and mall-owners impress customers with unbelievable discounts. Everywhere you look, you see huge posters and banners with the word ‘SALE’ and ‘50% off’ in huge print. Look closely and you will find the words like ‘conditions apply’ in fine print for some offers.
Several banks issuing credit cards also have tie ups retailers. Buy goods at certain shops and get a discount or another item free of cost. What the consumer fails to see is that shopkeepers are making money at their expense.
However, we can’t restrict this trend to just the service sector. It can be seen in society at large as well. People go to church for mass on Christmas, because its more of an excuse to socialize than to pray. They are more concerned about the Christians associated with Christmas what to wear for parties and what ornaments will go up on the Christmas tree. In between all this, the real meaning of Christmas, a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, is lost.
Christmas is not the only victim of this trend. For Diwali, people light lamps at home and burst a lot of fireworks. But ask children why they do so. They will only tell you that to burn crackers, nothing more. That this festival of lights is a celebration of Sriram’s return to Ayodhya is forgotten.
Everything has become commercial these days. We seem to be leaving in a world where most often commodities are given more importance during a religious festival than the festival itself. What we need to do is a little soul searching and figure out what really matters- MATERIALISM or SPRITUALITY???