I know a French lady Arian who’s dressed for every occasion, any occasion. It’s rare these days to see someone who bothers to dress up, especially in hot tropical Singapore.
One festive holiday she invited me to her house, a colonial bungalow preserved and reserved for the expats who could afford to live in it. All around her house were decorations of the season – colourful, ethnic, festive.
Arian moved to Singapore some ten years ago. She missed the four seasons and didn’t want her young children to grow up not knowing what seasons meant. So she would dress up her house and her family for every festival – Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Deepavali, Christmas and any other minor festivals that she knows of.
Seasons are something that we can look forward to every year, Arian explained. They’re part of growing up, spending time with loved ones, creating memories. It’s hard to feel special when every day in the year is more or less the same.
I’m feeling guilty. In the past decade, my years were filled with school exams, drills, enrichment classes and rushed holidays with the masses which added more stress than we bargained for. Whatever happened to our festivals and special occasions The time simply slipped away one school year after another.
Here in temperate north, autumn is coming. Leaves are falling. The days are getting shorter and colder. Houses are decked with pumpkins and kiddish ghouls ready for Halloween. Soon the days will get darker, people layer up looking forward to Christmas and the New Year.
What did we do last season? Who were we with?
This autumn, I’ll make a point to remember.