Back in 1994, right after Halloween, when the world strip down to its daily clothes, Chair of the Vegan Society Louise Wallis decided to set November 1 as World Vegan Day. “I decided to go for 1 November, partly because I liked the idea of this date coinciding with Samhain/Halloween and the Day of the Dead..,” said Wallis, in a ARZone Guest Chat in Australia.
Veganism is practised both as a diet (to abstain from all food items using animal products) as well as a philosophy (which rejects the commodity status of animals). One who practises either of the two is said to be a vegan. Though the concept has been around for quite a while, the structured observance of the World Vegan Day started much later, but has since picked up traction across the world. Some countries and societies even celebrate World Vegan Month, all November.
Observance of the day and month involve seminars and workshops that result in not only the congregation of vegans, but also those interested in the philosophy. Many restaurants and eateries create special menus for the occasion, while public figures contribute by spreading more awareness on the practice and benefits of veganism – on the environment, for animal protection as well as individual health.
Of late, veganism has also gained popularity in India, though may still call it more of a fad. Some restaurants revise their menu for the day and provide animal-free food, while many organisations orchestrate events that would simulate empathy for the animal kingdom.
Popular faces in India such as Ayesha Takia, Kangana Ranaut and Richa Chaddha, and abroad such as Casey Affleck, Kristen Bell, Pamela Anderson, and many more, practise veganism.
Like others, this year, Mumbai is set to celebrate the World Vegan Day or the Ahimsa Festival for 18 days, with around 100 events lined up. Among many, one of the primary events of the festival would be screening of movies such as What The Health, Okja, Cowspiracy and Forks over Knives to kindle the feeling of compassion among people.