Ask your mom and at the mention of this, the first thing on her mind will be cleaning the house from scratch. Yes, the cleansing ritual, so to speak.
With Ugadi round the corner, this is something I was talking to my friend about the other day. In fact, she, along with her family, has been at it for the past week or so. Hence, you see how no festival can truly begin unless that special round of cleaning is done?
I think it is the same in every household. Isn't it?
In someways, it forms an integral part of ushering in all the positivity that accompanies a festival. It's also important because it symbolizes getting rid of all that is bad to make space for the good and the new.
Having said that, cleanliness must be a part and parcel of everyday living too and not just be restricted to the festival season.
As children, my sister and I would follow mom and dad, helping them as they went around cleaning the house before festivals. Whether it was lending a hand as they changed the curtains or watching them dust the whole house, we were always there by their side. In a way, that was also a kind of celebration for us. Doing something as a family, spending time together.
It taught us two things though. Being, in fact doing things, together as a family. And the need for a clean home.
It goes without saying that festivals are occasions to be celebrated but you can't do that if health is not by your side. And that probably has a lot to do with cleanliness. See there is always a reason to what our parents have been doing for ages?
Therefore I think, as we teach our children the importance of each festival, it is also imperative that we tell them about the indispensability of a clean home on a day-to-day basis.
It can be things like,
• dusting the furniture, walls and ceiling.
• sweeping even those unreachable corners.
• cleaning the bathrooms and the toilets.
• changing to fresh curtains, bed sheets, covers or pillow cases.
• decluttering and getting rid of unwanted belongings.
Each of this can and should be done as often as possible, not only during festivals. Each of this should be done with an eye towards health as well.
On a personal level, I always try to do so as much as humanely possible all through the year. After all, nobody likes to live in a home infested with cockroaches and covered with dust. And when it's festival season, it is no different either.
Living in the southern part of India, I get to witness and even celebrate a lot of festivals that are indigenous to this part of the world. One of them being Ugadi.
The name Yugadi or Ugadi is actually derived from two Sanskrit words - yuga and adi. Yuga meaning age and adi meaning beginning. So, this beautiful festival stands for a new beginning. In many ways, it symbolizes a fresh start.
The day starts early with oils baths as per rituals, the household thoroughly cleaned, colorful rangolis, the doors decorated with mango leaves and the Ugadi Pacchadi of course. Having friends from Karnataka, I'm lucky to have the opportunity to experience another color of India in this part of my country.
With fun, laughter and celebration in the air, how can I remain untouched?
Of course, I can't.
For the past few years, I have been celebrating it in my own way as well. Learning from my Kannadiga friends a few things here and there of course.
Actually, celebrations stem from the heart and are all about intentions, not so much about getting everything right. I make sure I clean my house too with a little more fervor at this time of the year. Yes, just like at the start of every other festival in my household. You can see me dusting, running around with Godrej Hit attacking the remnants of cockroaches or changing the home linens. It's a mad house but a fun house with everyone taking part. This time around more so. One can never be too careful with an infant at home, festival or not. With the Bengali New Year closely following Ugadi, it's an extended period of celebration actually. And I love every bit of it.
This festival season #SayNoToFoodPoisoning with Godrej Hit just as I am. Are you with me?