The word festival has many meanings – it can be a religious celebration, a feast, an anniversary, or a regularly recurring program of cultural events. It can also refer to an atmosphere of unrestrained joy. A popular festival is Oktoberfest, held in Germany each year for 16 days and renowned the world over. Other famous festivals include Cannes, the Kentucky Derby, and Mardi Gras. There are also plenty of smaller festivals celebrating everything from tomatoes to Tennessee Williams and pop music to poodles.
Whether they’re held in parks, stadiums or warehouses, festivals are full of noise, people and excitement. They often take place over a weekend and include activities like concerts, parades, food courts, and competitions. Festivals can be a time of merriment, but they can also be stressful and unpleasant, depending on the crowds and weather.
One of the best things about festivals is their ability to bring together people from all walks of life. This mix of races, genders, ages and religions is what makes them so unique and why they’re such an important part of our culture.
Another great thing about festivals is that they’re usually a safe space for people to express themselves, even if it isn’t very politically correct. Often, this means people of color can be themselves at festivals without fear of discrimination or racism. It can also mean that they’re not subject to the same pressures as people in the mainstream to conform to the standards of beauty and fashion.
While there are plenty of positive aspects to festivals, they can also be breeding grounds for illness. Exposure to dirt, pollen and secondhand smoke is a recipe for illness, especially when you add dehydration and lack of access to handwashing stations to the mix. While there’s no cure for festival flu, hydrating and taking over-the-counter medications can help relieve symptoms so you can continue enjoying the party.
As the world continues to evolve, so will the way we celebrate and commemorate festivals. They will become increasingly global and interconnected as well as less focused on religion and more about the celebration of our common humanity. Whether we’re honoring the poodle or the tomato, it’s important to remember that we’re all in this together.