Whimsical and unusual jewellery has dominated runways and listicles on fashion trends for the year, with French fashion house Schiaparelli’s eccentric yet glamorous pieces, inspired by the surrealist movement of the 1920s and 1930s, leading the way. Jewellery designers in India have caught on to the trend but have put a minimalist spin on it, as our Style story for the week points out. India’s adaptation of it—retaining the elements of wonder while toning down the outlandishness—could be a metaphor for the way we learnt to live through a pandemic. We have been forced to scale down and find our own ways of celebrating small wins quietly. For now, the pandemic has curtailed our tendency towards over-celebration—weddings that can run to a week, including multiple solemnisation ceremonies to accommodate multicultural traditions, “wedding logos” that resemble coats of arms, and invitations that probably contributed to climate change in production, were fitted into a couple of hours on a screen, and first birthdays and class XII “marks parties” disappeared. But with a return to near-normal, plans to celebrate what was “missed out on” are being made again.
While planning last week’s cover for Diwali, we asked ourselves why we celebrate—and what celebration means during a pandemic. That brought us to this week’s cover story on how people marked life milestones, like starting a first job or the birth of a child, this year. At its simplest, of course, celebrations like these are a reason to ask everyone to get together and have a party, but at a deeper level they allow us to commemorate achievements, share, feel gratitude, and move on to discover and have new experiences. Celebration can also be about remembering one’s roots while highlighting assimilation—as indicated by our story on Diwali among diaspora communities in Guyana, Fiji and other countries, which Indian indentured labourers made home. What we celebrate and how may vary but our need to appreciate and feel appreciated is near universal, and that’s probably why we celebrate.
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