What is a festival?
Typically, festivals involve people coming together in the act of celebration. In ancient times, people would gather together to bring harvests in, often working cooperatively to ensure there was enough food to see them through the winter. In many cultures, harvest festivals hark back to such a time before harvesting was largely mechanised. As more people were gathered than was usual and more time was available for people to mix, so such festivals started to take on a greater cultural significance, perhaps with the addition of music and dance. This is the ancestor of the modern arts festival. In addition, modern festival events include ones devoted to food and drink, perhaps to promote a certain food-producing region or product. The other major form of festivals is devoted to religion. Often, religious festivals coincide with public holidays.
Why are festivals popular?
Many people like festivals that are devoted to an area of interest they have. For example, people who enjoy live music and following bands will often attend a music festival because they will have the opportunity to see act after act in quick succession perhaps with the opportunity to attend multiple stages. The same goes for festivals devoted to certain foodstuffs or hobbies, such as literary festivals. Most festivals are specialised in some way to offer the chance to immerse yourself into a subject matter or practice. They are also associated with holiday periods which means they provide a break from the normal routines of daily life.
What is the festival season?
In much of the western world, the summer period is associated with a long festival season that starts in May and continues through into September. These days, there are some huge festivals, like Glastonbury, Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits, that people attend in great numbers. Given that camping is usual at many festival events, the summer is the best time to hold them. Film festivals and venue-based ones tend to take place at other times of the year because they can be run indoors.
What are the major religious festivals in the world?
Some religious festivals, like Christmas, are fixed to a single point in the calendar. Others move, usually according to the lunar calendar. Passover is one of the most important religious celebrations in the Jewish tradition. It coincides with the Christian festival of Easter. For the Sikh community, the Vaisakhi festival is one of the most important. For Hindus, Diwali is among the most keenly anticipated. Eid al-Fitr is a significant festival for Muslims while Esala Perahera is celebrated within certain Buddhist communities, notably in Thailand.
Are there dangers in attending large festivals?
Some people worry about going to a large, outdoor festival. Usual precautions should be taken to safeguard your belongings. Only consume drinks you know cannot have been interfered with and stick with your friends, so you are not isolated. Many people enjoy large gatherings, and the experiences festivals offer without ever suffering from anything negative.