A festival is generally an annual event normally celebrating a characteristic feature of the local culture and community and usually centered on a particular element of that community or religion or both. It may be organized around a particular religious event or concept, like a celebration of a holy day or period of initiation. It can also be marked as a national or local holiday, festive occasion, or special gathering focused on a particular topic or interest. Regardless of the nature of the festival, it is normally celebrated with great fanfare and is marked by revelry and feasting.
Some examples of religious festivals celebrated yearly include Christmas, New Year’s Day, Saint Valentine’s Day, Hamsa Festival (also known as New Year’s Eve in Pakistan), and Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. Islamic communities mark the end of Ramadan with a fasting and celebration of Ramadan fasting. In the Hindu tradition, Durga Puja marks the beginning of Ramzan. Most Buddhist festivals mark the beginning of the Buddhist lunar calendar, which varies by region.
Christian and Muslim traditions have long traditions of their own festivals. They differ mainly in their length and scope. An Easter festival is one that marks the beginning of the Lent season, a time when they commemorate their Lord’s birth. Many of the festivities seen throughout the world on this occasion are associated with religious themes.
An Islamic festival celebrates the end of Ramadan. The Muslims all over the world mark this festival with much merriment and feasting. This is a religious festival for which there is no major feast as such, instead people commemorate the death of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) by eating and drinking freely. One important note of etiquette is that the dead body of the Prophet is never buried without having its head put on a stake. The Eid festival in many Islamic countries is another significant cultural festival, one that predates any of the other religious festivals mentioned above by hundreds of years.
Buddhist and Hindu religious festivals differ slightly, although they overlap significantly. The Buddhist religious festivals mark special days with high significance. There are no special meals or feasts, but the celebrations are much the same. There is a Great Buddha convention held each year at Bangkok which is one of the biggest events of the Buddhist calendar. Every March there is a Buddhist festival in honor of the Buddha.
The Christian Spring Festival is celebrated in many countries around the world on the first Sunday of Lent. It marks the beginning of the spring season and is the longest festival of the Christian calendar. This festival is best viewed in honor of All Hallows Eve. It traditionally begins at nightfall and continues on until the early hours of the morning, when it is celebrated with parades, processions and games.