Being a working woman I face enormous pressure to keep the traditions going during the festive season, that too with a full-time job. But, keep it going I must, at any cost. Because isn’t it a mom’s job to instill our culture in future generations. If moms don’t do it then who will? If moms don’t keep the family together then who will I am told? How will my daughter learn, I am asked? I now realise what my mother and all mothers did and do, and don’t get credit for. They have kept the traditions and customs alive and we are doing it too in our own way.  Moms are the real heroes during all festivals. They single-handedly keep family traditions alive!

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • It’s a mom’s responsibility to instill our culture in future generations. We learn about festival traditions and customs from our mothers. 
  • With all these expectations from our mothers or the lady of the house when did or do they get the time to enjoy festivals? Did they enjoy it in the first place?
  • They have kept the traditions and customs alive and we are doing it in our own way.  Moms are the real heroes during all festivals. They single-handedly have kept family traditions alive.
  • Is it reasonable to expect the same from our daughters and daughters-in-law who have full-fledged careers to carry the burden customs and pass it to the next generation?

I have learnt all that I know about festival traditions and customs from my mother.  My mother from the start of the festive season, which begins with Ganpati festival and culminates with Diwali, had everything chalked out. From buying new clothes for the kids during Dusshera and Diwali, to what sweets and food was to be cooked during each festival, and what to gift the kanyas on Ashtami during Navratri, to how many diyas we needed for the house on Diwali evening. Not to mention buying age-specific fire crackers for everyone so that nobody is left out (Yes, in those days noise and air pollution wasn’t a thing) and what gifts to give our household help, and to even hosting family and friends. All this needs planning and she was good at it. That too within a limited budget as my father was a government servant and didn’t get a festival bonus for sure. We kids didn’t see her hassled even once but everything was on time and done to perfection.

I do everything but I have learnt including the art of delegating and outsourcing.

Till the time I was living with my parents I had always relied on my mother to take up the festive responsibilities. But as soon as I got married I had to man up and assume that ‘mom’ responsibility myself.

I wonder sometimes, with all these expectations from our mothers or the lady of the house when did or do they get the time to enjoy festivals? Did they enjoy it in the first place?

Also read: This Diwali, Let Us Find What We’ve Lost In Search Of Convenience

When it was my turn to do the same for ‘my home’ after marriage, gosh I almost fainted with stress, from the enormity of the task at hand and this when my daughter was not even born. I have always been a working woman so I’ve had to sync all festive preparations with my work responsibilities. Which does nothing but double the stress.

For some reason, Diwali has always been special for me. I try to do what I learnt from my mother and some more. The whole house has to be cleaned inside out, the house dusted and painted, the fresh mango leaves toran made and hung, sweet and savoury eatables made at home. The mandatory gujjias have to be homemade. Yes, that’s something I was told, festival is not festival if some of the eatables are not made at home (Now I realise how taxing this is, if you don’t get help from the cook. You could be stuck for hours in the kitchen). I have since eased this a bit, in fact I have eased out on a lot many things. I just get one or two things made at home and the rest comes from our reliable mithaiwala. One smart thing that I do before Dhanteras (the day we get new utensils for our kitchen or gold or silver to invite Goddress Lakshmi into our lives and multiply our wealth) is that I go one or two days beforehand to the shop (of whatever I have planned to buy that year) and choose and pay three-fourth the amount and on Dhanteras I just go pay the small leftover amount and collect my goods. It takes me just ten-fifteen minutes on Dhanteras in the shop (which can be jam-packed), can you imagine that! And I have delegated the rangoli making bit to my seven-year-old.

I wonder sometimes, with all these expectations from our mothers or the lady of the house when did or do they get the time to enjoy festivals? Did they enjoy it in the first place?

I call myself the “bridge” generation if I can, the generation that is a bridge between the old and new. We try to do a bit of both the worlds. How successful we are is anybody’s guess. I do everything but I have learnt the art of delegating and outsourcing. I am lucky as my spouse is in the forces so I get people to help me. Otherwise I cannot imagine doing everything on my own.

Now, with Diwali being tomorrow all preparations are complete, well almost complete. I have time to sit and ponder. My daughter is seeing and learning everything, will she also feel the pressure of continuing traditions and customs? Will it be okay to put pressure on her? Who knows what career she chooses for herself. Will she get the time to carry out such elaborate traditions? What if she decides to settle abroad? We have to remember that some of these traditions and customs were made when women stayed at home and looked after the family needs and ran homes and men went out to earn. So, in a way they had time on their hands. Will it be reasonable to expect the same from our daughters and daughters-in-law who have full-fledged careers just like sons to carry the burden of passing on customs to the next generation? Why are women burdened with ‘tradition and custom transfer’? Why can’t men take some of the responsibility? Legitimate questions? Yes, we have to learn to let go a little, delegate a little, and outsource a little, let our girls enjoy festivals just as much as our boys.

Also read: Gharonda: A Diwali Ritual Embodying And Refuting Patriarchy

Smita Singh is an editor with SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are her own.

Get the best of SheThePeople delivered to your inbox - subscribe to Our Power Breakfast Newsletter. Follow us on Twitter , Instagram , Facebook and on YouTube, and stay in the know of women who are standing up, speaking out, and leading change.