What is a Festival?
Festivals are celebrations organized by local communities. They may be religious events, but also often highlight aspects of local culture or history. Festivals provide a day or period of time set aside for one purpose – typically to commemorate an important rite of passage or reenact an event.
The term festival has its origins in agriculture, as many festivals are associated with harvest time. However, the term can also refer to any event or season which brings meaning and unity to individuals, social or religious communities, as well as periods of legal mandate established by law.
In today’s world, festivals are typically public gatherings held outdoors – typically a park or street. They consist of an organized series of events featuring music, theater and dance that bring people together from across cultures and generations for an enjoyable form of community entertainment that blends tradition with modernity. Festivals provide an opportunity to get out into nature while staying active while getting some exercise at the same time!
Festivals were traditionally used to provide the public with free food and drink on days that were considered “public feast days.” They served to foster a sense of community among citizens.
People were expected to pay their respects to the dead during Festivals. Images of those departed were carried in procession during these days, and then interred in their tombs after the festivities had concluded.
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Some of these traditions are still observed today, such as Egypt’s Heb-Sed Festival which was observed after 30 years of a king’s reign and every three years thereafter.
At this festival, it was believed that the gods would appear and grant humanity their blessing. This event had become celebrated for centuries throughout Egypt.
Egyptians celebrated this festival to thank Hathor, known as ‘Lady of Drunkenness,’ for saving humanity from destruction by drinking their blood. She served as patron saint of this particular festival.
This festival honors Lord Ganesha, a Hindu deity considered to be an elephant-headed god of success and good fortune. To commemorate this special occasion, houses and businesses throughout India display numerous idols in their windows for worship. After ten days have passed, these idols are ceremoniously removed from their residences and carried in procession during a ten day festival.
At this Festival, there is an incredible fair with magicians, musicians, dancers and acrobats performing for you to witness! For anyone wanting an authentic Indian festival experience, this must-see is a must-visit!
Another distinctive element of this festival is its connection to water. It marks the end of winter and ushers in a time for fresh starts.
The festival is a major economic driver for the city and draws in thousands of visitors annually. It also serves to foster connections between different cultures, religions and ethnic groups.