Occasions are powerful moments in time. It punctuates the monotony of our daily grind and gives us something to remember for years to come. Some of our earliest memories are of our second or third birthday.
Surely you remember the anticipation your 6-year old self had in the months and days leading up to your birthday, right?
Some of us, years later, still mark our birthdays on our spanking new annual planners as a sort of rite of passage to commemorate the new year and a new planner. No? Just us, then? Okay. Carrying on.
According to the dictionary, the word occasion is described as:
- A particular time, especially as marked by certain circumstances or occurrences:
- A special or important time, event, ceremony, celebration, etc.:
- A convenient or favorable time, opportunity, or juncture:
- The immediate or incidental cause or reason for some action or result:
Time. Special. Important event. Celebration. Ceremony. These are just some of the words that jump out at us from that definition. Occasions are special.
In India, we have a number of occasions that are sprinkled across our calendars. Broadly, they fall into the following categories:
Festivals: The multi-cultural, secular country that we are, it is only natural that we have a host of festivals that we all celebrate. Some are purely religious and others are traditions that have carried on from years past.
For example, Pongal and Sankranti are a sort of thanksgiving festival, signifying the end of the harvest season. Sankranti is celebrated in the north of the country and involves flying kites and other rituals. Pongal is celebrated primarily in Tamil Nadu and other areas in the South of India. It is a four-day celebration that includes milk and lots of sugarcane. In the same way, Holi which is the most colourful festival in the entire world is the celebration of the coming of spring and involves liberally sprinkling each other with Holi colours. Every festival, whether Diwali, Easter, Ramadan, and others, is celebrated with gusto throughout India.
Our Country: Religious festivals are not the only occasions we celebrate in India. We also mark significant days in our country’s history. Some examples are Republic Day, when the Constitution of India came into effect on 26 January 1950 or Independence Day, which marks our independence from British rule in 1947, or Gandhi Jayanti, the birth anniversary of the Father of India Mohandas Gandhi. These historic moments have shaped the history of our country and we celebrate it to remember.
Personal Milestones: In India, personal milestones are enormously significant. Your 10th standard graduation saree was probably picked out with great care and deliberation long before the actual ceremony. In certain segments of our country, the coming of age of young boys and girls is celebrated with great fanfare. We like to buy new clothes when we start a new job or a new year at school. We celebrate when we are promoted at our jobs, we celebrate when we win a prize, we celebrate when we get good grades. Clearly, we’re a country that loves celebrating all sorts of achievements, big or small.
Family or Community Occasions: Finally, some occasions are specific to the individual and causes the entire family or community to celebrate. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings… these are all occasions that we ring in loudly and with much fanfare.
Weddings are probably the biggest party we throw ourselves in our lifetimes. According to some statistics, India celebrates around 10 million weddings every year, 80% of which are Hindu weddings. In India, wedding rituals are dictated by religion and local culture. Hindu weddings in the north of the country may vary those in the south, though they essentially follow the same rituals. Most Hindu weddings are multi-day affairs and include specific pre, during and post-wedding ceremonies.
Pre-wedding occasions include the Engagement, Sangeet, Mehendi, and Tilak ceremonies. The actual Hindu wedding occasion follows the Vedic yajna, which includes three key rituals, Kanyadaan (giving away of his daughter by the father), Panigrahana (voluntarily holding hands near the fire to signify union), and Saptapadi (taking seven ‘steps before the fire’). Post-wedding occasions include the reception and Vidaai. In South India, the Vidaai Ceremony is called Kshemadandulu.
Weddings, as with all our celebrations, seem to centre around four things a) rituals b) food c) clothes and d) community. When guests leave a wedding, they reflect on the food they were served, what the bride was wearing and what the bride’s mom-in-law did. Clothing plays such an integral role in Indian culture and occasions that at Koskii we’ve designed entire clothing collections around these specific occasions.
We celebrate each festival with a special range of ‘festival-approved’ outfits, such as, a range of sarees to mark the occasion of Pongal and stylish lehengas for Diwali. We celebrate historical occasions with a special collection that features aspects of our Indian heritage, such as incorporating the colors of our flag in our Independence Collection or using Khadi in our collection. Our range of wedding attire includes clothing suitable for the bride and the bridal party as well as those simply attending a wedding. We have a collection for every wedding occasion, including yellow or light-colored lehengas or kurtas with crop tops for Haldi; bright reds, dark blues, maroons, and a range of trendy pastel lehengas, gowns, sarees or kurtas for the actual wedding ceremony; and extravagant yet sophisticated outfits for the reception.
Wear the best version of yourself at your next occasion. Shop our collections at www.koskii.com.