A festival is an event or a celebration, usually staged by a local community, which centers on some theme, sometimes on some unique aspect of the community. It can be a religious or secular festival.
Originally, the word festival was associated with religious holidays. In the days when working people were not entitled to any holidays at all, religious festivals provided a welcome respite from the relentless grind of daily life.
In modern times, however, the word festival has become synonymous with entertainment and a wide range of activities. There are festivals of all kinds – music, film, theater and dance.
It’s also a term that can be used for any program of many different acts, lasting an entire day or several days. This type of festival is often referred to as “festival hopping.”
Some common festivals around the world include Easter, Christmas and New Year’s. Others are cultural or seasonal in nature, such as the Fringe Festival in Scotland, Carnivale in Brazil and Oktoberfest in Germany.
Celebrated in the winter, Christmas is one of the most popular holidays in Puerto Rico. During this festive season, you will find parades in every town and city on the island.
There are plenty of restaurants and shops that offer special festive dishes such as lechon, a roast pork dish topped with arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas). You can also enjoy the trullas, which are traditional Christmas songs accompanied by drums and guiros.
You will also find lots of stores selling a variety of Christmas decorations. Some shops will even sell Christmas-themed clothes, shoes and jewellery.
During the Christmas season, you can also visit the Santurce art district in Old San Juan to experience the Fiesta de la Calle and watch local artists and artisans display their work.
This is the biggest party of the year, and it ignites in the evening when musicians, performers and circuses fill the plazas. It’s a fun event that stretches across the weekend and is unofficially the end of the holiday season.
Some of the most famous festivals are those that are centered on religion, like Diwali, which celebrates the victory of good over evil and light over darkness.
Mahashivratri is a Hindu festival that is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the creator and protector of the universe. It is the most spiritual of all Shivaratris, or ‘Great Nights of Shiva’ and takes place in February/March each year.
In this festival, devotees worship Lord Shiva by fasting and chanting mantras. They also visit temples and attend religious discourses, read and recite poems called shlokas and sing devotional songs.
It is also a time to thank the sun god Surya for bestowing bounties on earth and extending good wishes for the coming year.
The main day of the festival is celebrated by a procession in which idols of Lord Jagannath and his siblings (Goddess Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra) are ridden in chariots. The chariots are decorated and carried over a distance of 3 km (2 miles).
Another important holiday for India’s Hindu population is Holi, which is celebrated on the night before Dussehra and marks the defeat of the demoness Holika by Lord Rama. During the celebrations, people throw colored powder and water at each other in a colorful and playful atmosphere.