Colourful clothes, a dance party in school, a sweet in hand: for most of us, Children’s Day always evokes memories of a joyful winter day bringing upon a sweet break from the usual academic grind of the year. Though the day is celebrated on Jawaharlal Nehru’s birthday — to mark his love for children — for many young school children, the occasion is simply an opportunity to have fun with their friends.
Vaibhav and Tanya, students of the second grade at Andhra Education Society, have no idea who Jawaharlal Nehru is. But they are excited about the ‘party’ happening at their school. “It reminds me of my birthday party,” Vaibhav exclaims. Between giggles, Tanya declares, “I will also participate since I’m the class monitor.” Across the city, different schools celebrate this day in their own ways, but one thing stays constant; the children celebrate this day with utmost fervour.
Children’s Day, along with being a universal celebration of childhood, is often a reminder of a time that keeps the tribulations of adulthood at bay. In many schools, the students in the secondary section are kept afar from the elaborate celebration, but the occasion is no less special to them. “I just want to enjoy and take a trip down the memory lane before I’m burdened with the responsibilities that adults have,” shares 16-year-old Saanvi Vaish of Amity School, Delhi. She wishes to celebrate it to the fullest — before she has to leave this day behind for good. “I want to play games and do activities that have been brandished as ‘childish’, to remind myself that I can still take a breather and act my age,” she adds.
Yes, Children’s Day is certainly a playful affair, but in a time when the younger generation has been given a voice to speak up and make a change, this day also marks a celebration of all that a child can do. Mauraya Sharma, a 15-year-old Delhi-based filmmaker and artist, also remembers November 14 as a colourful celebration that he shared with his friends and his teachers. However, he also believes that this day has the ability to take this conversation further. “Activists like Greta Thunberg — as well as many artists and prodigies — are owning the space now. Children’s day is one day that everyone gives us the attention we deserve — an opportunity for us to spread our own messages and convey our strength to the world,” he sums up.