It was Diwali and i was standing in my balcony in the evening,looking at the neighborhood kids bursting crackers. I saw this 12 year old boy who lives next door, lighting flower pots using a sparkler. His mom was supervising the activity and before he could go light another flower pot, she asked him to move his arms in circles with the sparklers in his hand.
I am sure we have all done this when we were kids. Swinging our arms with sparklers in hand and be delighted at the play of lights by the sparklers.
The lady wanted her son to experience the same joy that she had ,when she was a kid. Sadly by the tone of the voice, the kid mistook it to be some kind of a ritual which is performed before one lights a flower pot.
So before lighting every cracker, the kid would move his arms in circles once or twice with the sparkler in hand.
This got me thinking as to how a lot of such inane activities have come to become strict norms in the Hindu culture.
How many of such things we follow without ever questioning the rationale behind it?
In South India, we are still not allowed to cut our nails after dark.Its the same when it comes to plucking flowers or leaves. The way i see it, back in those days when there was no electricity ,you wouldn't want to cut your finger accidentally or be bitten by insects when you were out picking the flowers!
The Rangoli\Kolam was drawn in front of the house to ward off insects. So was the thoranam of fresh mango and neem leaves which adorn the main door of the house during festivities.
I can think of lot more such examples but i am sure you must have got the drift by now :)
Of course not all rituals are without logic.I am sure most of them have some logical explanation. But over centuries , the meaning behind the rituals have been lost and they have reduced to a set of meaningless activities.