A festival is a festive event usually organized by a group and centered around a theme or characteristic feature of the community and its beliefs or traditions. It may be marked by an annual or irregular festival, a special religious event, a political celebration, or an artistic exhibition. It may be local, regional, national, or international in scope. In recent years, there has been growing interest in celebrating certain events outside traditional festivals, such as New Year’s and St. Patrick’s Day.
A festival may be attended by people of all ages, and for different purposes. For example, a religious festival is an occasion characterized by special feasts, rituals, songs, and other actions that commemorate the special qualities of a person, god, or deity. A festival also marks the end of a period of time; in most cases, it marks the end of a calendar year. A festival may be of particular religious significance, or may be an occasion to which people are invited because of the general nature of the event.
festivals that have long histories are more likely to be passed down from generation to generation than those of less importance. For example, the Feast of the First Sunday after Easter, originally celebrated in the early second century BCE, is one of the oldest Christian festivals. The Christians celebrate the festival as a way to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, as well as the miracle of his becoming man. The Lenten Season, which began in Lent and runs until Ash Wednesday, is another well-known Christian festival. The word ‘Lent’ itself is a reference to the Lent, the time during which Jesus went back to His original home following his baptism.
Most other religions around the world celebrate significant religious festivals each year. Unlike Christian and Muslim festivals, which are celebrated with great enthusiasm, Chinese festivals are much quieter affairs. However, Chinese New Year, one of the most celebrated festivals, draws millions of visitors to its sites and events in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.
Some other Asian religious festivals include the start of the Buddhist lunar cycle, which occurs at the beginning of the ninth month of the Chinese calendar. This is also the start of the rainy season in Asia. The Obon Festival, which is commemorated on Chosai day – the first Sunday of the new lunar year – traditionally includes a banquet, fireworks display, and dances and celebrations. Another major religious festival in Japan is the Shichi-Go-San, also known as the New Year Celebration. On this day, the first Friday of January, government offices and other establishments are closed.
In Korea, an early celebration of Confucianism, the teachings of ancient China, takes place in early February. The festivities include feasts and games involving food and drink, but no fire. The main highlight of the day is a ceremony in which the royal family announces the coming of the next king and consensuses. The most popular of these cultural events in Asia is the Buddha festival, which has been celebrated since early times in India, Sri Lanka, and Singapore, where it is now celebrated in many parts of the world.