• Madhumita Gopal

Relevance of Rituals Today

Updated: Sep 26, 2019

Look at the smile! Relieving their moment of matrimony after 26 years

Learning, unlearning and relearning are important aspects of life. Hailing from a Tamil family ensured that I was deeply imbued with culture and tradition. My parents took the traditional path of ensuring I joined a Bharatnatyam class at the age of four, and participated in every ritual held at home for all religious festivals. I grew up surrounded by stories about miracles and magic. Every summer used to be filled with magical stories by my amazing storyteller grandmother, and I used to listen to them with eyes wide open and filled with amazement.

However, all of this never stopped me from questioning the why's of various rituals, and my mom patiently answered my questions as rationally as she could, pointing out their relevance when they were made and extrapolate their relevance now from the origin. Despite all this, I grew up to be religion agnostic, and did away with all the rituals when I started living alone.

This year was my dad's 60th birthday, an event that calls for a big celebration and ceremony. The husband and wife get remarried to each other. It is traditionally arranged by their children, in our case - I had to do it. My parents asked me to make a call on if I wanted to arrange one at all, and if I did at what scale did I do it. I began to think about its relevance today and here is my thought - in the days of old, hitting 60 years of existence would have been hard, and they used to get married as kids aged anything between 5-15. A ceremony like this would celebrate their long life and probably relieve the moment of matrimony that they possibly would have been too young to understand the first time. Neither of those points held true for my parents or me, and the miser in me was sorely tempted to give up. However, I knew it mattered to my parents, and we started planning to hold a ceremony with our first circle of family to celebrate what is called the Sashtiapdhapurthi(60 years completion).

The decision itself changed the whole atmosphere at home, extending to my 75 year old grandmother, who suddenly seemed to leave behind her health woes and started planning zealously for her daughter's marriage. Shopping for new saris, planning for the rituals and prayers - which gave her hope for a good life for her family seemed to relieve her of her physical and mental pain that she suffered from due to her health issues. My parents too, seemed excited to be having their near and dear ones home, hosting them for almost a week, and pray for a good life for their kids(parents, you know).

The ceremony ended successfully this week, with people flying down from various parts of the country to Kolkata. Most of the relatives were surprisingly the elderly ones, and their happiness at seeing my parents celebrating 26 years of togetherness was so evident through the two days of celebration. The extensive rituals are mostly prayers to various gods for good health and life, and their devotion to ensuring successful completion of the ritual, their dedication to the prayers helped me realize what drives life - Belief.

Believe in something more than yourself, believe that despite everything right now, things will get better.

This will help us to perform miracles beyond our current potential, and be a better version of ourself everyday!

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