SONGSOPTOK: Festivals have always existed in human society. We all agree that festivity plays an important role in our lives. What would be your personal definition of festival and festivity in the context of today’s society?

LILIAN: Festivals are ways for people in a community to celebrate together in their own cultural way, bringing people together to bond and also an opportunity for outsiders to understand and be immersed with the local culture

SONGSOPTOK: Throughout the ages, one of the underlying objectives of festivals was to bring people closer together and create a link. In the context of today’s competitive and egocentric society, do you think that this objective is actually achieved by festivals?

LILIAN: I think so. On this ocassions people get to be productive in their competitiveness and still work as a team with a single team focus

SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that the form and content of festivals have evolved over time? What is you own experience? In what way would you qualify the evolution?

LILIAN: The core or essence of the festivity remains the same though the medium evolved with the current technologies. On smaller scale some enterprising politicians and businessmen have been more forward to use the occasions for their own benefits for promotional gains

SONGSOPTOK: Since antiquity, festivals have served to bring people together and hence closer to each other. To what extent are festivals relevant in the context of today’s intensely competitive society?

LILIAN: Promotional and economical  relevance since festivals boost tourism, market sales and networking possibilities as a
result of people's interactions

SONGSOPTOK: Broadly speaking, there are two sides to all types of festivals – preparation which is essentially materialistic and the celebration. Which aspect is more important for you and why?

LILIAN:  The Celebration itself.  Any worthwhile preparation will be in vain when it does not motivate people to the festive mood

SONGSOPTOK: The essence of festivals lies in the connection between the individual and the collective. To what extent do our individual and family oriented lives helps or hinders this connection?

LILIAN: Family orientation decides how people responds to the festivals.  The closer the family feeling is within , the easier to widen its scope to the community itself. Individually the festival itself arouses the sense of belonging,  of collectivity, of historical and cultural pride

SONGSOPTOK: The origin of most of the festivals seems to be religious; to that extent, almost all festivals are essentially communal since it is the built around the religious sentiments and beliefs of specific communities. Would you say then that such festivals are actually detrimental to world peace and unity?

LILIAN:  On the other hand I believe it to be an awesome tool to world peace and unity,  but only if people are open and accepting.  When hatred and bigotry is present,  anything and everything is detrimental.

SONGSOPTOK: All religious festivals are social but not all social festivals are religious. Do you think that social festivals should be more important today than religious festivals? Why?

LILIAN: I see no difference.  Any celebration or ocassion that brings people together and peacefully interact is important for me

SONGSOPTOK: For countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Israel, Palestine and all other countries that share borders with different religious majority, would you say that religious festivals play a negative role for peace and unity? Please let us have your thoughts on this issue which seem very important to us.

LILIAN: When all the people are open for acceptance and friendship there is NOTHING NEGATIVE.  Negativity arises from closed mind due to hatred and unwillingness to accept other's belief.  Religion and other cultural belief is just an excuse to build walls that divide people regardless of geographical and governmental divisions. I'm so sick of people trying to justify their evil thoughts. Call a spade Spade! You hate so you my hate.   You love then you love

SONGSOPTOK: Irrespective of the origin of festivals, whether religious or social, the form and content often varies from one region to another. In fact, regional culture has always been an intrinsic quality of festivals in different parts of the world, often in the case of same festivals. Do you think that today’s globalization could actually wipe out these culturally rich regional influences? Do you think that this is a loss for the human society in general?

LILIAN: I think festivals enrich regional culture.  Globalisation just makes it more acceptable to other cultures. But I hope people will not sacrifice their regional influences for the sake of misconstrued global acceptance.

SONGSOPTOK: If we look closely, we can often find a close relationship between different types of festivals and nature. Would you agree? What is your personal experience?

LILIAN:  Festival is a celebration of nature itself.  Religious festival is a celebration of nature. Focus just got twisted with unbalanced priorities and interest

SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that festivals and celebrations in their present forms can play a role for world peace and unity? If not, how should they evolve to become a message of world peace?

LILIAN: Openness and acceptance is all that world peace needs. When a celebration is used to ostracise people no evolution can achieve world peace.



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