Festivals, from the joyous moments to grand celebrations, portray the true picture of Bharat, showing its vibrant culture. The vivid colours of our traditions and heritage outshine during the festive season. The rich soil of Bharat is representative of the chivalry, wealth, rituals, diversity, spirituality and rich culture. One of the most celebrated events in our nation is the festivals. National, Religious, Regional or Seasonal festivals of the entire genre bring joy. Festivities have been an integral part of life in Bharat, our history and the scriptures are evident in the gala rituals for ages. The events speak of the manifestation of deities, and those events are well cherished by the people of the nation with great enthusiasm. Festivals hold one of the key places in the heart of the people of our nation.
The lavish celebrations during the festivals speak volumes of the great legacy of tradition that we have been carrying forward for generations. Our religious festivals reveal the triumph of victory, honesty and devotion. There are numerous big festivals which are popularly celebrated in Bharat apart from the regional and seasonal ones. They are not only connected by their tradition but also with the roots of the belief. Festivals are awaited by the people with great zeal. In many places, people start preparing for the festivals before a few days, and there are even some festivals, the preparation of which involves the calculation of months. Depicting the enamoured picture, festivals of Bharat have been significantly contributing to the nation.
The Economic contribution:
On the one hand, these are known to break the monotony of life; on the other hand, these are symbolic of boosting economic circulation. Festivals being amicably strong have been strengthening harmony in the society at one end and supporting the economy at the other end. The spiritual, religious and devotional aspects of festivals are often talked about, but the economic contribution made by festivals is also worth canvassing.
Ganesh Chaturthi and its significance:
One of the spectacular festivals is Ganesh Chaturthi. Celebrated with great zeal and rigor, this ten days long festival starts from the Chaturth (fourth) day of the Shukla paksh of the Bhadrapad month of the Hindu Calendar and lasts till the fourteenth day, popularly known as Anant Chaturdashi.
The festival is dedicated to Bhagwan Ganesha, the Bhagwan of prosperity and remover of obstacles. Bhagwan Ganesha is worshipped foremost among all the deities and is believed to bestow wisdom and good luck.
The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is highly popular, people welcome the idol of Bhagwan Ganesha on this day and celebrate for next ten days with joviality. Huge setups are built with grandeur where the idol of the Bhagwan is established and worshipped. After the worshipping of ten days, the idol is immersed with rituals. The ten-day festival witnesses merriment and bliss among the devotees. People either bring idols at home or collectively build a setup to establish the idol at some common place in the locality so that collective prayers can be offered to the Bhagwan daily. The elation of this festival can be seen in every other locality with big setups.
The festival of Ganesha Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi is not only a jubilant fest of devotion and religious belief but also marks a significant economic contribution. The economic impact of the festival may be seen as follows:
Sketch of economic significance of Ganesh Chaturthi:
➢ The idol worshipping and income to artisans: The preparation of this festival begins with the making of idols. The manifested image of Bhagwan Ganesha is established with a belief that Bhagwan will bring in good fortune. For this, the artisans start preparing the idols months ago and sell them prior to the festivals. This is a big market in itself. It generates income for these skilled craft workers and helps them earn their livelihood.
➢ Indirect benefits to the paint industry: The idols of Bhagwan Ganesha are usually beautifully painted and decorated. It affects the painting industry indirectly as the idols are made and sold in huge numbers; hence, the paint required to decorate the idols is a benefit to the industry.
➢ Business to the tent houses: The temporary setup for ten days is made with the help of tent materials. In many places, these are splendidly created using fancy decorations. This provides business to the tent industry. The festival falls in the month of Bhadrapad, which is during the Chatur Maas, which has no weddings or such events. Amidst this, a ten-day event gives a boost to the income of the tent houses.
➢ Income to flower vendors: Bhagwan Vinayaka is usually offered flowers and garlands every day during worship, and there is an increase in the quantity, especially on the first and the last day of the festive span. It distributes income to many flower and garland vendors locally and helps them earn.
➢ Business to sweet sellers: A festival is unimagined without sweets. People relish different sweets on different occasions. On Ganesh Chaturthi, the most loved sweet of Bhagwan Ganesh i.e. modak/laddu is prepared and sold in huge quantity. Many variants of modak are sold by sweet sellers. Buying sweets becomes a must during the festivals, as people firstly offer sweets to the gods and then distribute them as a prasad among the people. A huge potential market of sweets is benefitted economically. All the ten days, the offerings of sweets result in huge buying. If we consider a small setup/pandal where a sweet of Rs 500 is offered to deity daily and if there are 100 such setups in a city, then on an average minimum of Rs 5,00,000 is usually spent on sweets only, the amount goes higher where the setups are big and on the Chaturthi and Chaturdashi tithi. The amount must be taking many folds increment when it comes to big cities and the big setups.
➢ Economy of religious products: The religious products used for worshipping are used every day from the establishment of the idol to the immersion. Products like, Camphor (kapoor), cotton, diya, dhoop, incense sticks, abeer, sindoor etc., are commonly used in the worship. All these products are made by various industries; the economic boost can be seen for these products during these days.
➢ Business to sound industry: The vibrant fiesta becomes complete when it is combined with music. Devotional songs are often played during these ten days of worshipping, mostly in the evening till night. The sound system is often taken on rent from the dealers of the sound industry. Big loudspeakers are put at the setup for all the days; it is yet another economic generation.
➢ Income to priests: Often, priests are hired to complete the rituals of worshipping at the setups/pandals. For the establishment of deity, pran pratishtha is done with complete rituals, which is many a times is performed by priests. Priests also earn their living through these festivals. Especially at the large setups, priests perform the worship every day during the ten days. It brings in income for those who practice, preach and perform religious rituals.
➢ Economic impact on chains: The income earned by an individual or industry is distributed among the entire chain of manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, retailers etc. For instance, when we say flowers, the income goes to the end farmer who grows the flowers to each individual/business involved in the chain. That means wealth is indirectly distributed among various industries which are linked.
➢ Donation enables circulation: The economy is well related to welfare. Many big setups are made by raising funds; this enables the circulation of money from one person to another, one place to another.
➢ Employment Generation: Many people get their employment during the festive time. People working in a vendor’s venture earn their living from the place. Also, some indirect employment has huge space during festivals. People often keep some helpers for setting up of pandals and looking after them, for maintaining hygiene etc. These people also get employment during the festive time.
➢ Income from fruits, milk or dry fruit business: The practice of worshipping the idol of Bappa at home is very popular. People offer sweets (especially laddu) made at home. The preparation of laddu involves ingredients like milk products (khoya), coconut, ghee, dry fruits etc. The income is well distributed among these businesses as well during the festival. The business of fruit sellers also goes high during the festival period.
➢ Vocal for local: The purchasing of all the products used for the grand celebration are done from mostly local vendors. Products, namely sweets, flowers, sound, tent supplies etc. are bought from local vendors. Hence, this festival is seen to be vocal for the locals for years, thereby supporting and boosting the local economy.
➢ Huge economic impact in certain States: Ganesh Chaturthi is though popular among all the Hindus in the world and is celebrated across the nation, but it is most popularly celebrated at a grand level in Maharashtra.
Popularly known as Ganesh Utsav, this ten-day bliss brings in a huge economic influx in the State. Extravagant setups of Ganpati Bappa are put, huge and big idols are established, and the grand procession of the deity is carried, which steals the lights of media during these days. It is considered as one of the most important festivals of Maharashtra and mark a tremendous increase in economic activities.
The ten-day festival of Bhagwan Ganesh as its default belief of bringing good fortune, brings in prosperity and a boom in the economy. Festivals are, hence enabler of the circulation of income and wealth from people to people, from one business to another etc. These festivals are symbolic of the devotional belief as well as the economic contribution that they make. Moreover, these are the supporters of local products, which strengthen the local economy of the region and also help promote trade among States. Festivals of Bharat are examples of the self-reliant economic system.