Nepal is a land of diverse cultures, traditions, and festivals, each with its unique significance and symbolism. Festivals are an essential part of Nepali society, and they play a significant role in promoting social cohesion, reinforcing cultural identity, and fostering spiritual beliefs. However, with changing times and economic constraints, it is getting harder to balance festive spirit and fiscal responsibility.
On the one hand, festivals require considerable financial resources to organize, ranging from procuring materials for decoration, arranging for food, and hiring performers. On the other hand, many Nepali households struggle to make ends meet, and the cost of celebrating festivals can be an additional burden on their already tight budgets. As a result, many Nepalese face a difficult choice between following tradition and maintaining their financial stability.
This dilemma raises crucial questions about the essence of Nepali festivals and their economic viability. Can festivals be celebrated without lavish expenditures? Can they still retain their significance and symbolism without the traditional rites and rituals? This piece of writing aims to explore this very dilemma of balancing the festive spirit and fiscal responsibility.
Nepal is a multiethnic and multi-religious country that celebrates various festivals throughout a year. These festivals reflect the cultural diversities and religious harmony of Nepali society. While some festivals are specific to certain ethnic or religious groups, others are celebrated by all Nepalese regardless of their background.
In Nepali culture, social aspect of festivals is more important than the materialistic aspect. People dress up in traditional clothes and visit their friends and family members to exchange greetings, share meals, and engage in cultural activities. Social media was not a factor in celebrating festivals in the past, and people focused on the significance of festival and its spiritual importance rather than expenses or showiness.
Nepali festivals are a reflection of the country’s rich cultural heritage and religious diversity. While the festivals are celebrated with pomp and grandeur, their essence lies in the social aspect of the celebrations which bring people of different backgrounds together and strengthen their bonds.
In recent years, celebration of festivals in Nepal has undergone significant changes. While festivals are still performed by people of all backgrounds, the economic cost of celebrations has increased, and the focus has shifted from the essence of the festival to a more materialistic approach.
The focus on expensive clothes and jewelry, party palace celebrations, and social media likes has taken precedence over the spiritual and cultural significance of the festivals.
One of main changes in festival celebrations is an increased emphasis on expensive dresses and jewelry. People now spend a considerable amount of money on buying new clothes and accessories for the festival which was not the case in the past. Additionally, party palaces choosing for celebrations have become popular along with people preferring to celebrate in hotels and restaurants rather than in traditional ways.
As a result of these changes, the spiritual and cultural significance of celebrations has taken a back seat. The focus has shifted from social harmony and cultural values to showiness and extravagance. Furthermore, pro social media celebration being mounted high as people now showcasing their festival celebrations on social media platforms to gain likes and followers.
The increased economic cost of festival celebrations has also affected the less privileged sections of Nepali society. The rising cost of festival celebrations has made it difficult for low-income families to participate fully in the festivities. This has created a gap between the haves and have-nots, with some people enjoying lavish celebrations while others struggle to make ends meet.
A potential gap between the rich and the poor when it comes to spending on festivals is a matter of concern. It is true that festivals can be expensive, and there may be societal pressure to spend a certain amount of money for the celebrations.
That being said, it is important for individuals to be mindful of their spending and to make ethical and moral decisions when it comes to celebrating festivals. While it may be tempting to spend a lot of money to impress others or to conform to societal expectations, it is important to consider an impact of our actions on others and on the environment. It is possible to celebrate festivals in a meaningful way without breaking the bank or creating further societal divides.
Concluding with a note, while festivals in Nepal still promote social harmony and unity, their celebration has become more materialistic leaving social and spiritual values far behind. The focus on expensive clothes and jewelry, party palace celebrations, and social media likes has taken precedence over the spiritual and cultural significance of the festivals. It is important for Nepali society to balance between the materialistic and spiritual aspects of festivals to preserve their cultural heritage and promote social harmony for all.
[Jha is a student of Economics at Patan Multiple Campus]