Celebrations make us human

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To answer the perennial question of “what makes us human”, I’d say it must be celebrations! No other living creatures organise themselves to come together to commemorate special days or festivals like humans do.

We are probably the only species that is concerned with things not directly related to our survival or reproduction of offspring. Fishes don’t invite their friends to come for baby-showers; sheep don’t set off fireworks to welcome a new year; tortoises won’t don new clothes to visit relatives during Hari Raya.

Muslims in Singapore will be marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, solemn month of dawn-to-dusk fasting, in two days’ time on 6 July. Commonly known as the festival of Eid, Hari Raya Puasa in Singapore is celebrated by Malay-Muslim families who start their day with a visit to the mosque for reciting special prayers. Then they set off to meet their parents and elders to ask for forgiveness for any wrongs committed during the year. The day continues with more visits to relatives and friends where they come together for scrumptious treats.

Singapore has a day dedicated to the youth of the nation too. Earmarked for the first Sunday of July, this day celebrates the fervor of young people and the role that they play in building the nation. Youth Day serves to remind us all to stay ever-curious like the young minds, and to live our lives with passion. Grade-schools in Singapore are closed today as yesterday was Youth Day.

Celebrations make us special. Celebrations make us human. Thus, we should make our work more effective, so that we can have more time for celebrations. Give the mundane tasks to machines. The robots can help us do these tedious work so that we can have more time doing things that make us human.

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