A festival is an annual occasion usually celebrated by a group and centered around a single characteristic feature of the community and its religious or cultural beliefs or customs. It may be regularly celebrated as a national or local holiday, special event, or festival. A large amount of research has gone into determining what makes a festival memorable and meaningful to the peoples of a region. It has also helped to determine when and where such an occasion should be. In addition, it has helped to determine what kinds of materials, artifacts, and foods are used during such an occasion.
Forts, palaces, temples, and Zen gardens are the most common places where we find artifacts representing religious festivals. Even today, there are still many artifacts representing religious fashions, practices, and beliefs from many different cultures around the world. In fact, there are festivals in many countries commemorating a number of things including the Christian festival of Christmas, the Hindu festival of Diwali, and the Muslim festival of Eid. The location and time of a festival will depend on the beliefs and customs of its people.
Every year in May, the Chinese celebrate the four-day Chinese New Year, which also falls on the day of the Confucian New Lunar Year. In China, this festival marks the beginning of farming. It is one of the two traditional annual agricultural holidays observed by farmers and involves processions, games, rituals, food preparation, and feasting. In Japan, fireworks are used to mark the start of the Buddhist lunar cycle, called the Dragon’s Gate, and are considered a crucial part of many cultural events in that country.
Hindu and Buddhists generally mark a full moon celebration in mid-October, marking the end of the moon cycle. This celebration is widely considered to be a festival of fertility and good fortune, and many Hindu temples and celebrations include fireworks as part of their rituals. There are also Christian festivals during this time. In the Islamic world, the Id-ul-Fitr celebration marks the end of Ramadan, when Muslims commemorate Ramadan by burning special dates known as Ramadan feasts.
Some other important festivals in the world include the Celtic festival known as Beltane, which involves a grand feasting and lots of drinking, and is marked by a particularly spectacular display of fireworks in Donegal, Ireland; the Welsh celebration of Glastonbury Tor, which features the spectacular setting of a water tower. In Scotland, the Welling festival is a major tourist draw. This festival celebrates the importance of water in Scottish tradition and includes great feasts, music and dance, and much jewelry and decoration. The Finn clan is recognized for its well-known feast, the Finnmas.
There are a great number of other traditions and religious meanings that are related to feasting and the celebration of eating. Each culture puts its own twist on the festival. In Europe, Easter represents the beginning of Lent, when Christians must fast from late January to early February before they can go back to church. Many people in the Middle East celebrate Passover with great feasting and celebration, and celebrate the beginning of spring by preparing unleavened bread and unleavened cakes.