Text and images by Sarita Rajiv
Living in a country far away from my own has meant that I’m hit by a wave of nostalgia and longing triggered by the smallest of things. Sometimes it’s triggered by the obvious – like a conversation with my family or seeing old pictures of family and friends back home. Sometimes it’s watching a fun Bollywood movie with its song and dance routine. On some occasions, it is something I’ve read. More often than not it’s triggered by Indian festivals (and there sure are many).
While I miss the whole cultural experience of celebrating festive traditions, I also feel guilty about whether I’m doing enough to give my little girl a sense of Indian traditions and a perspective on Indian culture. While we talk about India often and read Indian folktales to her, I’ve discovered that the best way to tackle both the nostalgia and the guilt is to celebrate a select few festivals with as much gusto as I can possibly can in Denmark.
A couple of days ago we celebrated Onam, an Indian harvest festival, and this year we went the whole hog. We wore traditional Indian clothes (I miss wearing a saree!), cooked and gorged on an elaborate Onam feast on a plantain leaf and even attempted the floral decoration called the Onapookalam with my daughter.
I guess the best way to give my daughter the gift of holiday traditions and cultural experiences is by giving her the opportunity to experience it first hand. I’m hoping we can slowly build a treasure trove of happy memories for her to look back on. And perhaps one day she will feel inspired to do the same.
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