A culture of apprecition-II

Published on Nov 24 2010 // Opinion
By Dhruva Mishra

Whether it is the fourth Thursday of November in USA or the second Monday of October in Canada, people in these countries have a reason to celebrate. History has enough evidence to reveal that commemorations have more or less remained the same, be it with respect to their significance or the purpose with which they originated; but festivals have slightly changed their dynamics, their root of significance and their purpose over the time. Who among those pilgrims, would have thought that the little feast they enjoyed to thank god for their harvest, in the Plymouth Plantation (now in the state of Massachusetts) would eventually become a Thanks Giving day for all and declared a national holiday. Clearly, this is evidence that any good thing done for a common cause is written down in history. However, the meaning and purpose with which Thanks Giving originated have slightly changed with the passage of time. But this has happened to so many other festivals celebrated in the other parts of the world, and I believe it is the demand of time.

Whether to accept and adopt the western culture or to take the best things out of it to fit ours is a choice of ours that need to be made wisely. To make this decision, one needs to understand the etymology of “culture”. Culture is different from customs or traditions. In reality, cultures are created by those who live in them as we interact and then talk about what we do and how we do it. We formulate a set of shared values, habits, models and conditions or norms that work in a society whether we mean it or not. Sometimes we do this in an intentional and productive way and at other times we get hiccoughs – meaning setbacks. Appreciative inquiries and insightful analysis done by focusing on the strengths and capabilities of our people and organizations, and then on what might be even better, should be taken into consideration while making these choices. If I were to make a choice, I would choose to extract the best values out of a culture, be it western or eastern, and mix it with ours to make it richer. Let the readers not misunderstand me. I am in no way trying to say that we should “adopt” western culture and set aside ours. If the message be understood that way, I shall be guilty of spreading wrong information and you of selective listening. What I mean here is that there is a lot to learn from the meaning with which Thanks Giving is celebrated here.

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