No matter which religion you put your faith in, festivals are an integral part of it. People of all age groups, actively take part in all the festivities. The enthusiasm and excitement for celebrating the festivals is something that knows no bound. People make all kinds of plans for shopping, surprising and meeting their near and dear ones and of course enjoying the festival. But one thing that seems most common in all festivals is the participation and role played by women.
Most of the time, we tend to overlook the amount of hard work women do during festivals. Whether it is Diwali, Holi, Eid, Christmas or Baisakhi. Right from preparing the dishes, packing gifts, to cleaning the houses and welcoming the guests, women keep their nose to grindstones. And the list doesn’t end here. In addition to doing all these things, women often observe fasts for the sake of their children, family or husband. At times, women observe these fasts because they want to, while at other times, they are forced or asked to do it because that’s considered as their duty.
You will ask how and when? Well, you must have seen your mothers observing a fast for your long and healthy life. Upon being asked, they may tell that it is important to do. I am not saying that she must not observe any fast. If she is willing to do so and has faith in it, she should do it. But what about those women who are asked to observe a fast without knowing if she is willing to do so. Women, especially in orthodox families are supposed to walk an extra mile when it comes to festivals. We forget to know their consent, consider their mental and physical health and most importantly, their faith and beliefs in religious activities.
Women observe various fasts to ensure their husbands and children get a long and healthy life. Sadly, the vice-versa rarely happens. Perhaps, women do not need a healthy and long life. It could be true as most of the women in our country dedicate their entire life to their families.
The story doesn’t end here. While women observe fasts, they are expected to look after the entire house, do the same domestic chores and of course ensure that the festivals are being celebrated in the best possible way. One mistake and the blame goes straight to the women in the houses. Whether the rangoli isn’t that beautiful or the sweets are less sweet or if the curtains aren’t clean, women get to listen, either directly or indirectly.
But do we appreciate the hard work done by the women? If women are blamed for spoiling the festivals and celebrations, they should be credited for making them memorable as well.
Well, in most of the progressive families, women may not have to go through such things but why isn’t it the same with all the households? Now some of you may say that the women themselves take the initiative to do the work themselves, which is no doubt a great thing. But have you wondered why they take the initiative? I mean, they too could sit back and enjoy their snacks and desserts while giving opinions on political, social and economical issues and the preparations of the festivals like most of us do. Instead of doing so, they either work like horses in the kitchen or entertain the guests while making sure things are in the right places. The reason is we never take the initiative. Even if we do, we either don’t give our best or increase their workload by creating a mess.
Probably, this is why women choose to do the work silently, even if they have to avoid drinking a single drop of water owing to the strict fast they observe.
In fact, it won’t be wrong to say that festivals aren’t always for women. It is for the rest of us. Once the festival is over, we get back to our daily routine and so do the women but after cleaning the entire mess. If they have observed a fast and feel sick after breaking their fast, they get some criticism in return. Like, seriously? Can you work without food and water for an entire day and that too with the same or more efficiency? You may get annoyed if your boss asks you to complete the work when you are about to have your lunch or your teacher continues teaching for a few minutes after the recess bell rang.
I am not saying that women working during the festival sound like an atrocity. But making them work like a horse and forcing them to keep a fast without taking their consent is surely a concept that needs to change. A progressive society doesn’t form in a day. It takes many changes over the course of time. But the question is when you will start bringing those changes? If now not, then when?
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Prerna loves to write and shower love on animals. She enjoys reading and exploring places. Though sweet in her pictures, at times, she is difficult to understand. Being a strong believer in hard work and karma, she loves solitude and peace. Apart from this, she loves petrichor and harmony and wishes to achieve her one and only ataraxia for a lifetime.