Parents play a pivotal role in the lives of individuals. They nurture, guide, and lay the foundation for the morals, values, and life lessons that shape us into the people we become. To celebrate the importance and unwavering love of parents, many nations worldwide have designated a day as "Parents' Day." While in the United States, Parents' Day is observed on the fourth Sunday of July, India celebrates this day in a unique way with its own distinct customs and traditions.
Parents' Day in India: A Tapestry of Love
India • 24 Jul, 2023 • 1,492 Views
By: Shivani Chourasia
The Origin and Date
Parents' Day in India doesn't have a fixed date like Mother's Day or Father's Day. Instead, it is largely a modern and urban concept influenced by Western traditions. While India has long-standing traditions to respect and honour parents through religious customs, the idea of celebrating a specific Parents' Day is slowly gaining traction, especially in metropolitan cities. Various organizations and institutions may choose their own dates to commemorate this occasion.
In India, the parent-child relationship has always held immense significance. The cultural ethos of the nation emphasizes values like respect for elders, gratitude, and filial duty. Traditionally, numerous Indian festivals and rituals already emphasize family bonds and the respect owed to parents.
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For instance, 'Tirtha Yatra' or pilgrimages are often undertaken by children for their parents. Then there's the 'Shraddha' ceremony, which is performed to pay homage to deceased ancestors, including parents. The ceremony reflects the deep-rooted belief in the continuing bond between the living and their departed loved ones. While Parents' Day in India doesn’t have religious undertones, it has been embraced by the younger generation as a day to express gratitude and love in a contemporary manner.
Celebration and Activities
On Parents' Day in India, children – both young and adult – take time out to express their gratitude and love towards their parents. This might be done through:
- Gift-giving: Similar to Mother's and Father's Day, children might give presents to their parents. These range from simple handmade cards to more lavish gifts.
- Spending Quality Time: Families might choose to dine out or spend the day together at a movie, park, or at home sharing memories.
- Cultural Events: Schools and institutions might organize cultural programs, plays, and other events highlighting the importance of parents.
- Social Service: Some choose this day to visit old age homes, providing care and support to elderly individuals who might be away from their children. This act is a poignant reminder of the value of parents and the importance of cherishing the time we have with them.
Challenges and Criticism
The rapid urbanization and changing societal structures in India have led to a shift in family dynamics. Nuclear families are becoming more prevalent, and the age-old joint family system is waning. With these changes come challenges. The newer generation, influenced by the digital age, often finds itself at odds with the values of their parents, leading to conflicts. Some critics argue that days like Parents' Day are commercialized events that detract from the everyday respect and love that should be shown to parents. They feel it's more about materialistic displays than genuine affection.
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Parents' Day in India, though influenced by Western traditions, has been moulded to fit the Indian context. While it is essential to question the commercial aspects of such celebrations, the underlying sentiment remains pure: recognizing and cherishing the unwavering love and sacrifice of our parents. Whether through traditional rituals or modern celebrations, the essence is to show gratitude and deepen the bond that exists between parents and their children. After all, every day should be a day to celebrate the pillars of our life - our parents.
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