Introduction In the common course of life, people generally seem to derive great pleasure from special events and festivals of their areas. Theses festivals are of many kind: They are religious, traditional, and modern. In all types of such events, certain groups of people have certain norms of celebrating or observing these festivals and behind such festivities, certain beliefs and tenets, serve as the basis of such activities.This paper presents an in depth analysis of the link between societies, communities, or groups and some special events to which that particular groups of people sought great pleasure and pride.
The paper hence explores the history of the world reaching as far back as the Ancient worlds of Homer and Aristotle and strides up to the present time. The paper also analyses the link that some particular events, of festivals hold to a specific set of people when it comes to religion, faith, and ancient tradition. The paper presents and develops the argument basing its evidence from live examples taken from the festivals and special events that are being observed today. The link of these festivals with the same people living in the past is also addressed. At the end of the paper, in my conclusion, I would outline the findings of my analysis and would also suggest some of the ways in which the presently-observed festivities can be promoted to get better results in some of the very important issues that life, in twenty-first century, faces on the whole.Festivals Exploring the history of festivals and special events in the world, we find four very prominent regions that have fast-embedded roots to their ancient worlds.
These three regions of the world namely are China, African (the different tribes, and at presently recognised countries), Greece, and India. All these four regions have a very rich history when it comes to observing their culture and the related norms of celebrating and observing festivals and special events.A festival is commonly defined as “a periodically recurrent social occasion or event with a series of co-ordinated activities in which all members of a particular folk group participate directly or indirectly” and the basis of such activities are:“Both the social function and symbolic meaning of the festival are related to a series of values which the folk group recognizes as essential to its culture, social identity, ideology, worldview, beliefs, historical continuity and its physical survival. Ultimately, these are what festivals celebrate” (ucs.mun.ca).
As such, commonly, a festival is the practice by certain set of people to slogan their adherence to their old values and traditions whether they are customary or religious, social or cultural, and so on. The main purpose of such activities is to recognize oneself with their past and ancestors. It is then the game of keeping identity. It is also, then, a practice to hold the identity with pride and which certainly makes a group of people different from another. Commonly known structure of festivals is:§ opening ceremonyritualsdrama and contests (the very roots can be found in the ancient Greece and Rome)food and drinkcrafts and artsexhibition of costumesevents to conclude the festivals in a proper way, that is, to shed light on the issues focused at the time of such a celebration (ucs.mun.ca).Common functions of a festival are:§ cultural function that focuses on the promotion of a community’s cultural norms,§ sociological function that creates a community’s relations with other participants,§ psychological function that mainly creates a feeling of joy among the participants,§ economic function, which is to gain monetary benefits from a festival.
This is more a modern elements of the festivals (ucs.mun.ca).
In this very regard, we find another type of festival that is visible in almost all the old tradition such as Chinese, Indian, Grecian, Roman, African, and so forth. This type of festival is a religious festival in which main cause for the festival comes from a religious practice, dogma, ritual and the like; so “A religious festival is a time of special importance marked by adherents to that religion. Religious festivals are commonly celebrated on reoccurring cycles in a calendar year or lunar calendar” (Wikipedia.org).This becomes obvious to analyse, then, that what is it that serves as the basis of such festivals which are not only present in the twenty-first century today, but are also going toward a systematic improvement? Up to the very present day “great scholars and experts such historians of religion, sociologists, folklorists, anthropologists, theologians and psychoanalysts have, (since the 19th century) been engaged in the investigation of the various facets of festivals” and are trying to analyse the very causes of the celebrations of the festivals around the world whether their purpose is religious, social, cultural, or anything else.
It is hoped that once this area of investigation is explored, the hidden beliefs of man, that keeps a human attached to its history, will come to pass. (folklore.ee) In addition to the probing mentioned above, this is very much clear that “Festivals are collective phenomena and serve purposes rooted in group life” and “A festival performance serves the purpose of the articulation of the group’s heritage” which is different among different sets of people. (folklore.
ee) For example, Chinese celebrate a-month long freedom of “the souls of the dead [which] are released to roam around” granted by the heavens. So, in the 7th month of their lunar calendar, they celebrate the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts (circleofasia.com). In the same way, there are a number of festivals that the Chinese observe from time to time. In another instance, we can find an enormous number of festivals being celebrated in culturally rich land of India where there are as many as 28 standard festivals are celebrated every year (cuisinecuisine .com).
These festivals are unique and present a very complex set of celebration as they belong to a diverse number of religions. The main sources of these celebrations in India are the Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, and Christian religions to quote a few. In India, the more complex influence of festivals of one group to another is more prominent as we can see that people belonging to the above mentioned religions share the happiness of other groups whenever any festival time is struck.
Thus there is great cultural and religious assimilation. According to the Indian school of thought the festival “can enhance our mental and spiritual dimension that, if left in the dark, make us only poorer and less worthy of our heritage” (cuisinecuisine.com).
Hence, it makes it clear that festivals are more than just adhering to the ancient tradition, and cultural bonds. Looking at the present day Spain, we find the similar adherence of the Spanish people to their centuries old traditions. For example, there is the festival known as do los Patios Cordobeses/ The Cordoba Patio Festival. This festival is very unique example of a celebration and religious rituals as it“includes the pilgrimage of the conquering Virgin of the Linares Sanctuary across the countryside with horsemen and richly decorated coaches, a competition of Mary Crosses and a Patio, Iron Grille and Balcony Contest in which the patios, small side street and plazas so typical of the city are filled with flowers” (spain-info.com).In almost all the festival of Spain, one thing is very much visible that in these festivals roots are joined with the ancient culture of Romans, who frequently made to Spain in the old times. Once again, it seems very much clear that festivals are more than just happy celebration and we have presently sought our proof from a diverse set or geographical perspective.
Apart from the above set of festivals, there is another kind that is sprang from trade and resulted in assimilation of the two peoples that came in contact with each other while trading. These types of festivals are also very common these days. For one example, we have the presently much celebrated festival “the holding of the traditional Chinese New Year Festivals in San Francisco CA”; this particular festival has a number of purposes to serve today in US as, in the words of Yeh “US society’s fascination with Orientalism produced an opportunity for Chinese merchants to orientalize ethnic celebrations as a means of reducing racial tension” (proquest.
umi.com). Politics of the world has also contributed or influence the way people go about celebrating a festival. For example, in Mali the cultural, social, and artistic heritage, that seems to present Malian culture is actually the reflection of the colonial period. In her article Arnoldi focuses on “how institutions such as art festivals and museums, now perceived and portrayed as authentic Malian artistic traditions, are complex historical formations, which emerged during the colonial period” which tells us more about the nature of festivals and their causes of being celebrated (proquest.umi.com).
Conclusion and Analysis In conclusion I would like to state that festivals not only present as diverse perspective of religion, culture, social, economical elements of a community or people, they serve for as many purposes as solidarity, uniqueness, and holding a different identity. Politics, invasions, assimilation, migrations, religions, language, and so on are some of the factors that I found to be behind the causes of festival celebrations of observation. Today, in the twenty-first century, however, need is of the fact that festivals should focus on global unity and awareness of others’ norms and tenets so that a larger community can be created so that conflicts, problems and cross-culture communication crashes can be put to a reduced degree.In this very context of international solidarity and tolerance, cultural democracy is now being talked about. According to this theory:“societies could be better developed towards a more culturally egalitarian reality through the abolishment of such big differences between the working groups of each society and the richer and/or more educated people. Festivals in that context were seen as a potent means of promoting group life and involvement in community affairs” (bookpump.com).
Thus festivals and special events can serve for a better purpose that is to heal the wounds of the world and make it a better place for our coming generations.Referencesucs.mun.ca – Festival.<http://www.ucs.mun.ca/~zharuna/festivals.html> Accessed January 22nd, 2007.Wikipedia.org – Religious Festival<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_festival> Accessed January 22nd, 2007.members.aol.com – INDIGENOUS GHANAIAN FEASTS AND FESTIVALS<http://members.aol.com/moebweb/Kojart3/festivals/festivals.htm> Accessed January 22nd, 2007.folklore.ee – CULTURAL IDENTITY, NATIONALISM ANDCHANGES IN SINGING TRADITIONS<http://www.folklore.ee/folklore/vol2/ident.htm> Accessed January 22nd, 2007.circleofasia.com – Culture, Festivals, and Language.<http://www.circleofasia.com/Culture-Festivals-and-Language-Malaysia.htm> Accessed January 22nd, 2007.cuisinecuisine.com – Indian Festival.<http://www.cuisinecuisine.com/CultureFestivals.htm> Accessed January 22nd, 2007.spain-info.com – Culture in Spain: Festivals.<http://www.spain-info.com/Culture/festivals.htm> Accessed January 22nd, 2007.proquest.umi.com – In the Traditions of China and in the Freedom of America”: The Making of San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Festivals.;http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=656872871;sid=3;Fmt=4;clientId=8687;RQT=309;VName=PQD; Accessed January 22nd, 2007.Introduction to Special Issue: Memory and the Formation of Political Identities in West Africa;http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=1093370751;sid=2;Fmt=3;clientId=8687;RQT=309;VName=PQD; Accessed January 22nd, 2007.Bookpump.com – Maria-Louisa Laopodi: The Way Festivals Affect Society.;http://www.bookpump.com/dps/pdf-b/1121865b.pdf; Accessed January 22nd, 2007.;