Shalini’s observations about traditions and her personal experiences made intersting reading. It also set me thinking about the hotly debated issue of are all traditions good ? should we retain and pass it on to the next generation/? After all what is a tradition? It is. Nothing but custom or practice that has been there and people are following it probably without even thinking or bothering about it. Some of them may be good and relevant to this minute and others may be not relevant and yet others may be mere superstitions which are just here. But one thing is certain. whatever practice beams a tradition it is bound to have withstood the test of time . So to continue or to discontinue or discard a tradition is in our hands especially ladies who are the torchbearers of the same . We should use our intelligence and weigh the relevance and aptness of the tradition and imbibe or improve it to suit our needs and circumstances. It could be familial or social or otherwise. Here are a couple of traditions which i feel has universal relavence. Irrespective of the culture area etc.
The first one is the now famous hand wash. It is not hand wash but I am sure since ages the practice in many cultures and insisted in households irrespective of the status economic or others is that whenever a person be it he or she or the children go out and when They come back,, they should wash their hands ,feet etc .In many European countries members of the household especially children are asked to enter from a separate back entrance. About a decade ago or even earlier i had seen on Tv and read about how people now a days do not wash their hands including medical personnel ! Some corrective measures were taken afterwords is my memory. Similarly when i visited the U.S.sometime around. 2004 /5 in a few rest areas and malls i observed the banners that people should wash their hands after visiting the bathrooms and the personnel working there should do sp with soap and water. That way it is not that we were unaware of the oddness of this practice. Just that it was not enforced strictly perhaps both at home and outside.That apart washing hands, feet has always been insisted upon . In the rural areas in India where houses are either huge or very small depending on who you are landlord or labourer irrespective of your richness or poverty a pail of water is kept with a mug and usually a slab of stone or concrete is there by the side . Nobody need go to the bathroom to clean themselves.This tradition has been there for centuries. Today in the name of modernism this hygienic simple habit was given A go by or was taking a back seat. And what price we are paying for it. People have to be taught to wash their hands . How many videos, j, coaxes, threats, jokes abound in the media reminding us I am sure every parent would be shouting every half an hour to their kids to wash their hands. This is just one example of a good tradition which was a fading away but now may be revived and reinstated. I just want to drive home the point that traditions should not be simply discarded. At the same time if it is good and relevant we ladies as primary caregivers and home managers should insist on it being carried on in our homes . Each home that way would have contributed its might in the continuation of a good tradition. I am very sue if not this something to this effect will be there in many cultures or regions If any of you can throw light on it we will all come to know .
The second one is the social habit of staying in touch to use the present phraseology. In Indian culture some days are specially earmarked for visits to near and dear ones. It is part of some festival. or the other..Not every festival as ours is a festival loaded culture particular ones are specified. It is also specified when gifts should be given and to whom . Some for the e womenfolk and grudgingly here and there for menfolk as our society’s strong belief is men should always earn and give not receive !!! They. Should only get love and respect is what our scriptures say. I am writing this to tell how and why such traditions have come. Gifting is not a very big part of the visit custom. Because in the doll festival of nine days called Navaratri after the nine nights on the tenth day called Vijayadashami one is supposed to take a small twig or leaf of a particular tree and visit anyone including your enemies and offering it means all old rivalries are forgotten and the relationship begins anew. It is the intention behind the act that is important. Visiting updating about each other’s activities, health and welfare , staying in touch and feeling part of the whole is what it means. I am very sure such customs are bound to be there in many other societies tBut now a days we do keep reading and hearing that this kind of visits ,meets etc do not meet with approval or favour. Probably an off shoot of over communication or social media or whatever you call it. Personal touch to these things is getting dimmer is what we hear. Here lies the responsibility for us the ladies to give these traditions a more human touch. It is not an easy task but i feel is worth trying. What do you all feel about it i would be very much interested to know.