A festival is a period of feasting and celebration or a program of cultural events and entertainment. Many festivals have religious or spiritual roots, but some celebrate other kinds of events. Historically, both feasts and festivals were associated with ritual activities such as purification rites, passage rites, death rites, and sacrificial observances. In modern times, however, many festivals center around other kinds of activities such as dramatic dancing and athletic contests, or a variety of revelries that range from the solemn to the ferial.
Feasts and festivals are rooted in the dim past of man’s social, religious, and psychic history and rich in symbolic meanings that have been only recently explored by anthropologists, comparative folklorists, sociologists, historians of religion, and psychoanalysts. They are also typical examples of glocalization, or the interrelationship of high culture and low culture. They are also significant informational and cohesive devices in the life of religions and their followers.
Most of the world’s cultures have festivals that reflect their own religious, historical, or secular origins and traditions. The most common festivals include those that celebrate births, marriages, anniversaries, or other special occasions. Others may commemorate important military victories or other nation-building events. Still others, such as harvest festivals, recognize the changing seasons or other natural cycles.
The word festival comes from the Latin festum, which means a “feast day” or “feast-day observance.” During medieval times, people celebrated a number of festivals. These included feasts, processions, and plays based on Biblical stories.
In the late 16th century, Europeans began to adopt many of these festivals from Asia and other parts of the world. The term festival came to be used in English in the 17th century. In the early 20th century, it acquired its current broader sense to refer to any event or activity that is a “feast” in some way.
Schools often organize festival celebrations for their students. These involve dance, song, poem recitation, and stage acting. It is a great opportunity for kids to display their talent and build self-esteem. They develop a sense of patriotism by participating in national festivals.
These events are often held in the park and parents enjoy watching their children performing on the stage. Such events also develop the spirit of sharing and caring in kids. Celebrating a seasonal festival also changes the attitude of kids towards mother earth and nature as they learn to appreciate their food supply. It also helps them to respect national symbols and flags as they grow up.