Celebrating festivals with baby

This will be Keshav’s first Diwali. Technically it will be his second but really speaking will be his first as the last Diwali was one he happily slept through.
Keshav has been approaching festivals with reactions that varied from curious to bored. He didn’t really understand much if what was going on but knew that something different was going on and that made him curious.
By Ganpati time this year, he was old enough to understand that we were excited about something and this excitement managed to rub off on him too.

He watched with amusement and curiosity as we got the house ready for the festival and on the day of the celebrations was willing to go with new clothes bought specially for the occasion. We knew his reluctance to wear clothes and weren’t unduly disturbed by the fuss that he made but it would be worthwhile to note that traditional Indian clothes can be difficult to get a wiggling toddler into particularly one who just wiggles and shakes and refuses to cooperate with fabric that remains as unbending as him.

But once dressed, he threw himself wholeheartedly into the celebrations, putting his hands together to pray, ringing the bell in time, keeping beat with the prayers, eating the special food made on that day and generally giving everyone happy smiles.

But Diwali with its attendant noise is yet another story. I am a bit apprehensive about the crackers because I find he hates rather is scared of sudden loud noises. A recent spate of drill machines in our house saw him literal run to me in fear when the noise began. Seeing the fright in his eyes amazes me wonder how much he will be able to take the loud sounds of crackers bursting in the neighbourhood.

Our Diwali lights too will have to be carefully watched so that he doesn’t touch or topple any clay lamps. Perhaps it would be a good idea to give the floor level decorations a miss and go for electric lights festooning walls way above his reach. Perhaps powdered Rangoli designs and flower patterns should also be avoided unless of course we don’t mind his dancing away and destroying them. While some may say that celebrations should be carried out normally making children learn how to behave, I feel celebrations are all about children and we should modify our rituals to enable them to participate.

After all traditions have to be passed on and cultural practices ices have to be kept alive. And no one is more capable of doing this than the next generation. But festivals have to be fun for little tykes and not occasions to dread with extra doses of NO. So let’s modify our celebrations to include children and make the festivities all about them!