With the festive season of Dussehra/Diwali around the corner, this seems like the apt moment to discuss the significance of festivals in a child’s development. The majority of festivals have their unique customs and celebrations associated with them and as far as most people are concerned, proficiently carrying out these traditions determines the success of a festival. However, very few ponder the beneficial effect of the festival on a child.
At home, festivals serve as an excellent source of family time and bonding. Distant relatives and cousins, who are usually busy in their daily lives, come together at such events and this helps the child understand familial ties and bonds. It is healthy for children to spend time with their cousins and learn about their heritage and culture together. These bonds are ones that may last a lifetime. Secondly, children are exposed to the concept of ‘sharing’ during festivals. Exchanging gifts teaches the children the joy of sharing. Furthermore, families that donate necessities to the under-privileged also teach their children humility, service and care through their actions. This makes the children thankful for their possessions and what they receive. However, most importantly, festivals serve as a child’s premier introduction to the concept of God. This is significant because this concept acts as a psychological support that gives hope in times of despair by asserting that good always triumphs over evil and there is a higher power watching over the child. This makes the child feel safe and secure.
While most children celebrate festivals at home, celebrations at school also play a major role in the child’s development. There are three types of festivals, namely, seasonal, religious and national. The ones celebrated at home usually fall under the religious category. However, at school, children are enabled to celebrate festivals of different religions, allowing them to broaden their horizons by learning about other cultures and their traditions. Schools also encourage children to express their creativity in forms of décor, such as making rangolis or painting diyas. Secondly, celebrating national festivals among their peers at school imbibes a sense of patriotism in the children that is not developed if the child just stays at home for a holiday. Finally, celebrating seasonal festivals at school helps educate the child about nature and its gifts. This teaches the child gratefulness and humility.
To conclude, irrespective of the environment, every festival provides a learning opportunity for children. Adults must take these opportunities to foster the holistic development of their child.