Spring Cleaning - The Indian Practice
Traditionally, the entire house is thoroughly cleaned, once a year, and unwanted things lying around are discarded. This is usually done during early spring, just after winter. Spring cleaning of a slightly different hue is practiced in our culture. ಕಾಮನ ಹುಣ್ಣಿಮೆ (kámana hunnime) is a festival celebrated on Phalguna Poornima in our region, while it is celebrated under different names such as Holika Dahan, Holi etc elsewhere. During ಕಾಮನ ಹುಣ್ಣಿಮೆ, all unwanted things at home are collected, piled and burnt during the evening - ಕಾಮನ ದಹನ (kámana dahana). The following disparaging lines are sung as part of the event - "ಕಾಮಣ್ಣನ ಮಕ್ಕಳು, ಕಳ್ಳ ಸುಳ್ಳ, ಸೂ.. ಮಕ್ಕಳು. ಅಡಿಕೆ ಗೋಟು ಪೊರಕೆ ಏಟು". ಕಾಮನ ದಹನ till very recently was a social event involving everyone in the neighbourhood throughout our region. Festivals in Bhárata have a distinct connection with the internal world of an individual while the external tangible practices are symbolic of a meaning for life. ಕಾಮನ ಹುಣ್ಣಿಮೆ is no exception. It is natural that everyone has desires, ranging from tangible and material ones to intangibles. A desire (ಕಾಮ) is the genesis for feelings such as jealousy, hatred, fear etc depending on our ability to fulfil those desires. Over a period of time, these feelings accumulate and occupy our minds. Such negative thoughts (ಕಾಮಣ್ಣನ ಮಕ್ಕಳು) are unwanted and illegitimate. The harsh words used in the lines "ಕಾಮಣ್ಣನ ಮಕ್ಕಳು, ಕಳ್ಳ ಸುಳ್ಳ….” is to coerce us to consider them worthy of discarding. While the unwanted physical material is burnt, the unwanted negative thoughts also need to be purged. Burning symbolises the intensity with which we need to rid ourselves of negativity. It is just not enough to clean our surroundings. We need to keep our thoughts clean and healthy. ಕಾಮನ ಹುಣ್ಣಿಮೆ is a festival to cleanse ourselves of negativity and nurture positive thoughts. Let's make the festival an essential part of our annual calendar and celebrate the priceless practice of cleansing our thoughts.