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Posts Tagged ‘celebrate’

Today, I believe, is International Women’s Day. The significance of this day would have escaped my notice if it were not for the radio station in my car exhorting the listeners every few minutes to “recognize” the women in their lives by giving them flowers and jewelry because women love these for gifts. Okay!

Who comes up with these “Days” to celebrate one thing or the other, I wonder?

Google's doodle to commemorate International Women's Day 2013

Google’s doodle to commemorate International Women’s Day 2013

As far as I know, we celebrate days for particular reasons:

  • To salute the achievements of a minority. Um, last I heard, the world’s population is almost evenly divided between the two sexes.
  • To commemorate the memory of someone who has made a difference in others’ lives. Women have not yet become a distant memory. They are very much here. So, why not celebrate individual women’s achievements and legacies instead of asking everyone to celebrate the lump-sum of “women?”

 

  • To support a role played by a percentage of the population, such as that of a father or a mother. Hmm … women have not assumed the role of a “woman” at some point in their lives. They were born as such.
  • To bring an endangered species into the world’s notice. Women are not nearing extinction.
  • To share an emotion like love with others. Women are not an intangible emotion.

Besides, none of the women I know is holding her breath for someone to pat her on her back one day a year and say, “Bravo! What a great job you’re doing being a woman!”

Like everyone else around her — men, other women and children – she’s too busy keeping up with her life.

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“Aren’t all beginnings new?” asks one character of another in a book I read recently.

I guess they are and they aren’t, depending on how you look at it. As an absentee blogger for the past few months, this is a beginning of sorts for me. Again. Would this start be considered old, then?

What better season than spring to contemplate beginnings, old and new? Tuesday the 20th of March marked the Spring or Vernal Equinox in the northern hemisphere of the Earth: essentially, the first day of spring season.

All around me I see signs of new life: pale green leaves unfurling, bulbs pushing shoots out of rain-soaked earth, birds shedding downy winter coats, the skies newly scrubbed and polished.

Most cultures around the world celebrate the arrival of spring in different ways. Where I come from—the southeastern part of India, where people follow a lunar calendar for observing religious days—spring means a fresh start. We usher in the season with a New Year’s festival called Ugadi (the word translates to “Beginning of a new age/era”).

Hinduism believes that a human life is full only if it experiences the gamut of emotions in the right proportions. On Ugadi, everyone—child and adult alike—begins his/her day by eating a mixture or chutney made of six ingredients:

  • Jaggery, (similar to brown sugar, made from sugar cane) which is sweet, signifies happiness
  • Bitter neem flower petals stand in for sorrow
  • Thinly sliced hot, green peppers remind us of anger
  • Savory salt takes the place of fear
  • Tamarind paste (which is sour) marks revulsion or hatred
  • Tangy pieces of unripe mango emphasize surprises

This chutney—a delicious explosion of bold flavors and textures—essentially is a reminder that life is a fusion of experiences. This tradition encourages everyone to accept what is doled out to him/her in life with equanimity.

Tomorrow, which is when Ugadi is celebrated this year, I intend to begin my day with a few spoonfuls of this chutney.

Do you celebrate the beginning of spring or the end of winter? If yes, please share the details with us!

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