Festival

A Festival is a day or period of time set aside for feasting and celebration. The word 'Fest' has been derived from the Middle English, from Middle French word 'Festivus', from the Latin word 'Festivus'. The usage of the term 'Festival' in old times was different from the prevalent definition. From the 14th century this term had been used as adjective which meant 'To celebrate a Church Holiday'. It was in 1589, that this term was first recorded as a noun. While some festivals are celebrated worldwide others are restricted to certain regions of the world. Historically speaking, festivals have been known as 'Feasts', in fact 'Feast' was the parlance for people of the ancient era. The reason festival being referred as 'feasts' is chiefly due to the practice of serving meals on such occasions. In modern times, the practice is still widespread but not necessarily, as is evident in the case of 'Modern Festivals' like a Film Festival. Some festivals are celebrated as joyful occasions while others are meant only to be observed, minus the fanfare. But for the larger populace 'Festival' is a time to celebrate, meet their beloved ones', take time off, worship god, take vows, adhere to traditional practices and so on. All the traditional Festivals are observed on a certain period of time, however there are festivals that are 'Date Bound', i.e. they are observed on a particular date of a year. For example Christmas is always celebrated on 24th December. At the same time some festivals aren't bounded by dates, they are observed according to 'Natural Clock', i.e. based on seasonal changes like summer, spring, winter etc. Because they depend on nature they do not rely on dates to observe a certain festival. For example, Holi, is celebrated during February end or early March, this period is known as Phalgun Purnima, in Hindi language. Another example of varied occurrence of a festival is the 'Chinese New Year', this is actually beneficial for them as they get to celebrate their own 'Traditional New Year' and the 'Modern New Year' which is universally celebrated on the same day. The reason for celebrating festivals on a certain day or specific period of time is based on traditions and cultural practices whose origins are as varied as the festivals themselves. Mostly, festivals are observed as per the calendars of religions, these calendars are based on seasons and do not adhere to the modern calendar which we use today. Thus we have Christian Calendar, Hindu Calendar, Sikh Calendar, Islamic Calendar etc. Due to these calendar variations festivals are not uniform in their observations and occurrence. Festivals also have varied terminology depending on the language and country, it is being observed. Like, in India a Festival is also known as 'Mela'. Similarly, a festival acquires a broad meaning in the form of terms like 'Fair', 'Carnival', 'Festivity', 'Fiesta', 'Fete' 'Gala' etc.

Types of Festival

Festivals are celebrated throughout the world in different manner and for different reasons. Some are ancient and some are modern, some are widespread others are not. Festivals can be therefore divide into the below mentioned categories whose focus is widely on music, dance, drama and other art-oriented activities, usually set in pretty, interesting locations.

Religious Festivals - Festival which have a religious relevance are known as Religious Festivals. These have very important religious significance, wherever they are held. They are observed as per the recurring cycles in a calendar year. Of all the festivals in the world, Religious Festivals number the most and are observed with great worship and devotion. In fact, origin of Festivals itself is based on ancient practices of Religious Festivals. Religious Festivals are not necessarily meant to celebrate only, they are also meant to show respect like Buddha Poornima, mourn certain events like Muharram etc. Religious Festivals are marked by certain events like birth, death, conquest, defeat and other aspects of pious figures.

Based on the religion with which the festivals are associated, Religious Festivals can be categorised as:

Prominent Religious Festivals

  1. Christmas.
  2. Easter
  3. Holi.
  4. Eid.

Film Festival - A Festival which is organised to screen movies in one or more movie theatres or screening venues is known as a Film Festival. Film Festivals are usually held in a single locality to avoid any chaos. The festivals can be specifically themed around a particular film-maker, a genre or a subject. They may include old and or latest films. Apart from screening movies, these festivals also present awards to outstanding pieces of work in various categories. Other activities may include exhibitions, workshops and other related activities. High profiled Film Festivals are attended by hundreds of celebrities, people and attended by the media including the infamous, paparazzi. Therefore the movie makers see this as an avenue for publicity of their films. There are a number of Film Festivals held around the world, some are grand while some are ordinary. There are certain Film Festivals which are very 'Low Key Affair', as they are only locally known and not necessarily, held on annual basis. Film-makers have to pay an entry fee to screen their movies in most of the Film festivals, this is a norm in Large Film Festivals. While in small film festivals, a film-maker isn't required to pay an entry fee, some of these festivals are - Stony Brook Film Festival, Sicilian Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival etc.  

Based on the criteria for which a film festival is organised, they can be categorised as:

  • 'A' Festivals - 'A' Festivals are those which are large, held on an international level and have a prestige. These are also known as 'Category One' or 'A' Festivals based on the ranking of an accrediting agency known as International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF). To name a few, Montréal World Film Festival, Moscow International Film Festival, San Sebastián International Film Festival are all 'A' Festivals.
  • Independent Film Festivals - Independent Film Festivals are those which screen films produced by Independent film Makers. These aren't produced by Major Film Studio's or are made outside of the established studio systems. These movies have a low budget, usually a lesser known director, unconventional plots, a small cast and have little access to prime distribution markets. Independent Film Festivals are like 'Lesser Known Cousins' of the acclaimed 'Category One' Film Festivals. Amongst the various Independent Film Festivals are Sundance Film Festival, Austin's South by Southwest, New York City's Tribeca Film Festival and Raindance Film Festival.
  • Animation Film Festivals - Simply put, Animation Film Festivals are those which exclusively feature animated movies. Animated movies festivals may honour outstanding work with awards. These festivals encourage creative directors to produce quality animated movies which transcend the conventional boundaries. There are various Animation Film Festivals held around the world, prominent amongst these are - Melbourne International Animation Festival, Nicktoons Film Festival, Ottawa International Animation Festival, Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema, besides others.
  • Children's Film Festivals - A film festival exclusively held for movie which are exclusively meant for Children, therefore the name. Children's Film Festivals not only honour film makers but also child artist as well. Children's Film Festivals are also held all around the world and encourage production of those movies which provide real value to children through the medium of movies especially meant for them. These festivals may feature certain animation films. A few of the Children's Film Festivals are - New York International Children's Film Festival, Seoul International Youth Film Festival and Chicago International Children's Film Festival.
  • Documentary Film Festivals - Documentary Film Festivals are film festivals devoted solely to Documentary Films. Documentary Films are those films which present a true reality as it is, mostly without any or a few manipulations. These film festivals appreciate the honesty and truth portrayed in the movies and are rewarded accordingly. Some of these festivals are Cinéma du Réel (Cinema of the Real), International Documentary Film Festival - Amsterdam, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival etc.

Prominent Film Festivals

  1. Cannes Film Festival.
  2. Berlin International Film Festival.
  3. Venice Film Festival.
  4. Shanghai International Film Festival.

Music Festivals - Festivals whose main focus of activity is music are known as Music Festivals. The festivals may be cantered around a theme like a particular musical genre, artist etc. These festivals can be annual or occasional. Mostly, held outdoors, they attract a large number of people and are amongst the most bash parties in the world. The main attraction of Music Festivals are the Stage performances which drive people crazy, if they are performed by their favourite musicians. These are also training ground for new comers to get some 'Hands-On-Experience'. Other activities like games, comedy acts, fireworks, family activities and other attractions also form part of the Music Festivals. Some of the music festivals form a part of the larger festival or can be intermixed with some other type of festival. Based on the type of music involved they may be known as 'Rock Festivals', 'Metal Festivals' etc. Another type of Music Festival are those which are formal in nature, in the sense that they are educative in nature. These are organised on a small scale by local communities on a regional or national basis. The emphasis of these is to boost the confidence of amateur musicians, sometimes in an environment of competition. These young musicians may receive a certificate or a trophy. Colleges may hold Music Festivals to bring forth the untapped talent, occasionally or annually.

Based on the music featured, Music Festivals can be categorised as:

  • Opera Festivals - Arena di Verona Festival - Italy, Central City Opera - U.S.A, Longborough Festival Opera - U.K.
  • Electronic Music Festivals - Detroit Electronic Music Festival - U.S.A., Maschinenfest - Germany, Sound Summit - Australia.
  • Jazz Music Festivals - Berkeley Jazz Festival - U.S.A., Taste of 4th Avenue Jazz Festival - U.S.A., London Jazz Festival - U.K.
  • Rock Music Festivals - Rock Fest - U.S.A, Rock on the Range - Canada, Arrow Rock Festival - Netherlands.
  • Metal Music Festivals - Seattle Metal Fest - U.S.A., Inferno Metal Festival - Norway, Metaltown Festival - Sweden.
  • Reggae Music Festivals - Reggae Sumfest - Jamaica, Reggae Sunsplash - Jamaica, Midwest Reggae Festival - U.S.A.

Prominent Music Festivals

  1. Summerfest, U.S.A.
  2. Glastonbury Festival, U.K.
  3. Coachella, U.S.A.
  4. Big Day Out, Australia.

Arts Festival - A Festival whose main focus is to present visual arts in all its forms is known as Arts Festival. Though the mainstay of these is visual arts, it may present other lesser associated arts as well. Arts Festivals are involved in works related to ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, crafts, architecture and to some extent film-making, photography, video etc. as well. The main purpose of an Arts Festival is to showcase new talent, keep the tradition alive and lay emphasis on the disappearing visual arts. In a broader sense, various 'Arts Festivals' are also organised by Colleges and Universities but on a smaller scale. There are some Arts Festival which are art-world venues for promoting artists and sales of contemporary art. These are referred as 'Commercial Arts Festival'. These are essentially held by art dealers to sell their collection along with other linked commercial aspects. The 'Non-Commercial Arts Festivals' are organised by internationally recognized curators. They invite artists to participate in their festival.

Prominent Arts Festival (non-commercial)

  1. Edinburgh Festival, Scotland.
  2. Adelaide Festival of Arts, Australia.
  3. Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, India.
  4. Festival d'Avignon in Avignon, France.

Beer Festival - A Festival which is organised for selling and tasting a variety of beers is known as Beer Festival. Beer Festivals are majorly themed around Beer and one can observe various activities based on beer, not necessarily in the drinking sense. Such Festivals are held worldwide in almost all the continents. The most largest and popular one's are held in Germany and U.K.  But it's not just Beer that is served here, certain beer festivals also offer other alcoholic drinks. They are also popularly known as 'Beerfests'.

Prominent Beer Festivals

  1. Oktoberfest, Germany.
  2. Gäubodenvolksfest, Germany.
  3. Great British Beer Festival, U.K.
  4. National Winter Ales Festival, U.K.

Wine Festivals - Festivals which are organised to celebrate 'Viticulture', i.e. the cultivation of grapes and grape vines. Wine Festivals are common in wine producing regions, Italy, France, Spain, the United States and Argentina. They are harvest festivals as they are celebrated after the harvest of the grapes. The origin of wine festivals can be traced back to the Greek celebrations for their wine god Dionysos. Apart from Wine Tasting, dance, performances, fireworks, arts and crafts display, food corners and music enrich the environment.

Prominent Wine Festivals

  1. Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia, Argentina.
  2. Beaujolais Nouveau Festival, France.
  3. Fiestas de la Vendimia, Spain.
  4. Boston Wine Festival, U.S.A.

Comedy Festival - A Festival which is organised to celebrate comedy through various activities is known as a Comedy Festival. These activities are based around various comedy themes and genres. These are presented by comedy performers through many shows which include stand up comics, sketch troupes, variety performers etc. A variety of such festivals are held in different parts of the world. The purpose of these is to provide comic relief to the world which is faced with so many responsibilities on day to day basis. Some of the Comedy Festivals may form a part of the larger celebration like Edinburgh Fringe Festival held in Scotland, forms a part of the larger Edinburgh Festival.

Prominent Comedy Festivals

  1. Leicester Comedy Festival, U.K.
  2. Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Australia.
  3. Sydney Comedy Festival, Australia.
  4. FunnyFest Calgary Comedy Festival, Canada.

Food Festivals - Festivals which use and produce food for sale and marketing are known as Food Festivals. Food is the main theme of these festivals and at times certain category of food is the central theme. These have their origins to Autumnal Equinox and the Honouring of Earth Gods. While some of these festivals are held annually, some are held occasionally. Some food festivals are majorly focused on certain foods, like the National Peanut Festival of U.S. and Ribfest (U.S. & Canada). Occasional food festivals are associated with certain events or are a part of larger celebration like New Year and can be based on foreign countries dishes like Thai food etc. Food Festivals are occasion for thanking god and celebration of the harvest. Food Festivals also host events like live music, family oriented pavilions, nightly film performances etc.

Prominent Food Festivals

  1. Taste of Chicago, U.S.A.
  2. Gilroy Garlic Festival, U.S.A.
  3. Brentwood Cornfest, U.S.A.
  4. Abergavenny Food Festival, U.K.

Folk Festivals - Festivals which celebrate traditional folk crafts and folk music are known as Folk Festivals. Folk Festivals highlight ethnic way of living, not only through dance and crafts but even through literature, tableau, stories, dramatisation etc. But mostly it is the dance and music which are the main highlights of these festivals. So the atmosphere is filled with skilled display of artisans, dancers, instrumentalists, singers and storytellers. Folk Festivals can be of regional, national level and international level. It is an important occasion for all people to certain community to show their talent and win hearts. Folk Festivals are broadly referred as 'Cultural Festivals' as they also have same purpose and they also highlight various cultures through various art forms, mostly performing ones'.

Prominent Folk Festivals

  1. National Folk Festival, Australia.
  2. National Folk Festival, USA.
  3. White Horse Folk Festival, U.K.
  4. Rajasthan International Folk Festival, India.

Literary Festivals - Festivals which are involved in literary activities like presentations and readings by authors, are known as Literary Festivals. The primary objective of these festivals is to promote the authors' books, as well as love of literature and writing. They are also known as 'Book Festivals' or 'Writers' Festival'. Literary festivals are attended by writers and readers in a selected venue, mostly on annual basis. Other activities may include book exhibition, writers' conferences, autographing books, cultural and political talks, debates etc. Such festivals may spread over a period of several days.

Prominent Literary Festivals

  1. Jaipur Literature Festival, India.
  2. Winnipeg International Writers Festival, Canada.
  3. Edinburgh International Book Festival, Scotland.
  4. Ottawa International Writers Festival, Canada.

Science Festivals - Science Festivals are those which are based on Science related activities, like exhibitions, lectures, live demonstrations, workshops etc. Apart from these activities, Science Festivals may indulge in plays, readings and music with Science as their theme. These can be annual or occasional and can span over a week or a just a day. The main purpose of these festivals is to provide a scientific outlook to the masses as there many facets of science about which the society is ignorant. Sometimes they are also known as 'Science Fairs'. These tend to showcase the talent of science students and may result in sponsorship of their project.

Prominent Science Festivals

  1. Cambridge Science Festival, U.S.
  2. Techfest, India.
  3. British Science Festival, U.K.
  4. Australian Science Festival, Australia.

Famous Festivals around the World

Below mentioned festivals are listed 'Serial Wise' and not 'Popularity Wise'.

  1. Bay to Breakers.
  2. Burning Man Festival.
  3. Calgary Stampede.
  4. Christmas.
  5. Esala Perahera.
  6. Eid.
  7. Festes de La Mercè.
  8. Festival de Cannes.
  9. Festival of San Fermin.
  10. Full Moon Party.
  11. Glastonbury Music Festival.
  12. Holi.
  13. Jazz in Marciac Festival.
  14. La Tomatina.
  15. Love Parade.
  16. Naadam Festival.
  17. New Year Eve.
  18. Oktoberfest.
  19. Rio Carnival.
  20. Venice Carnival.

Significance of a Festival

Showcase of Talent and Customs - Since the origin of festivals lie in our ancient culture and tradition, they are highlighted with full fanfare. Festivals offer us a picture of how the society functioned and celebrated. Whether festivals are religious or musical they provide the young and old, an opportunity to absorb and experience another culture. New generation is able to show their talents and gain good amount of experience. Every culture has something which we can learn and utilise in our daily lives. Like, Baisakhi, gives us a lesson of handwork and it's fruitful results, as it is a harvest festival. All in all festivals keeps all the citizens in touch with their culture and religion. When customs and traditions are exposed to the public it helps them in keeping touch with their culture and religion. Though people may forget their history but these festivals give them some idea.
 
Preservation of Traditional Practices and Customs - Festivals attract all types of cultures. Each culture has its own customs and practices, which may have lost their significance in modern times. While there are other practices which are based on superstitions and are used to exploit, these should be ignored in all ways possible. But not all have lost their purpose, Baskets are still Weaved and Honey is still collected in forests. These and numerous others which are unique, need to be kept alive, not just for the sake of it but to remind us to live in harmony with nature and not abuse it. Some traditional skills are still more effective and cheaper than existing modern technologies, they need to used and more importantly improvised for better efficiency. Some herbal medicines made by the tribes hold cure to various incurable diseases. If these arts are short lived than we have lost a valuable knowledge.

Strengthens Belief in God - Festivals have a lot of spiritual and religious significance. As majority of festivals are based around divine beings like Jesus, Guru Nanak, Buddha, these effect our thinking and actions in a positive manner. All the religions preach belief in god and this is absolutely reflected in religious festivals. For those whose belief in god is diminishing, these acts as boosters of faith. And those who believe in god, are confident to know that what they believe in, is not an imagination.

Occasion for Socialization - Modern times are very busy times for majority of us. We all have busy and hectic schedules which we religiously follow. In this milieu, we forget that we have a life beyond our offices and businesses. Festivals are the essential breaks which help us to come together. When we congregate in one place we socialise with whom we don't know and with whom we are acquainted. Festivals provides us the opportunity to listen to our grandparents, fulfil wishes of our loved ones, meet those who miss us, catch some local colour and meet locals.

Sense of Unity - Festivals are social events which are built on human cooperation. Organising a festival requires a lot of man power and when this manpower gathers for a common purpose, it develops teamwork which inadvertently unites people of different races, castes, colour and creed. Such experiences provide us the lesson that there is great strength in unity and even seemingly impossible tasks can be simplified with unity. When joy and happiness is shared, it is doubled as it is universally shared and not restricted to a few. Similarly International festivals favour brotherhood and in the process remove ethnic racism in the world.

Spread of Knowledge - Festivals are unique occasions as each type of festival has it's own constituent norms and practices. When these are observed closely or remotely they give us an insight into cultures, about which we were unaware or lacked proper knowledge. This insight clears confused and clouded minds which have formed false assumptions about certain practices of a culture. When festivals portray a skill or art, we not only get knowledge, we also get inspired to further these techniques for the benefit of mankind.

Source of Entertainment - Most festivals are colourful and filled with lots of excitement. There is an excitement all over in wearing new dresses and preparing a variety of dishes. This atmosphere is not observed everyday and is conducive for diverting the mind from monotonous tasks. As such they break the monotony of life. Dances, acts, performances, displays, exhibitions, music and food, become a source of entertainment and refresh our minds. Whether old or young, everyone enjoys celebration even if one is an passive participant. Happy faces and excitement brings forth the same in us. Festivals bring joy and happiness in our lives. More importantly when we celebrate all festivals alike the message of joy, happiness, brotherhood and humanity, is spread among one another.

Income Generation - With a plethora of activities, festivals are the most busiest times. Festival jobs are the most abundant and one can earn more than one can earn in one season alone. Businessmen are busy keeping the demand at bay. Incomes soar high and the government also benefits with tourists thronging to the venues of festivals. This revenue supports not only just administration but families as well, their standard of life improves. When people are well endowed, they don’t indulge in acts of crime like theft, murder, deceit etc. Thus the economic aspect of festivals has a far reaching effect.

Inputs for Development – When a community has sufficient funds, it can improve their facilities and help in development of the community itself. Increase in revenue adds to sales tax base with which the host city is able to provide more and better services. It also brings new or increasing recreational opportunities to make the festival more interesting. Development of the local population also favours the development of nearby communities with increase in trade. Public facilities like electricity, water supply, public toilets, airport infrastructure etc., undergo a face change which are signs of development not only for an individual but for families, individuals and communities as well.

Worldwide Recognition – Each country is unique and it’s uniqueness remains hidden if it is not shown the 'Light of Recognition'. It is here that festivals play an essential role in presenting their specific identity in front of the world. For, people it is an opportunity to explore and discover a culture which is unique. Apart from the festival coming in the limelight, the host country also gets its’ share of fame. Any small community can lie large on a world map, if it’s worthy of appreciation. With the passage of time the repute of a festival triples and is recognised as an excellent spot for tourism.

Disadvantages of Festivals

Many of us are familiar with the benefits of various festivals but are we aware of it’s adverse effects? Sounds puzzling! But there are dark spots of festivals which if overlooked can have drastic and overwhelming after-effects in the near future or maybe sooner.

Pollution – The number one, disadvantage of a festival is the pollution. Pollution comes in many forms and all its types are the outcome of festivals. Air pollution is caused by a number of festivals which indulge in fireworks, crackers, oil lamps, candle lightening, burning figures and various other rituals involving fire. If these aren’t reduced, the threatening climate crisis will descend, even before we can take any preventive measure. Then we have sound pollution caused by loud music in various festivities. These can cause various hearing problems. Sound pollution also affects our brainwaves causing irritation and other psychological problems. Animals also get disturbed and face anxiety, some important birds may even leave the area for good, in search of tranquil environs. Last, but not the least, water pollution is caused by immersing of idols and other water polluting practices of various festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi, if only people resorted to biodegradable material for such a practice.

Commercial Ventures – Festivals, today have become Commercial Ventures overtaking the originality of the festival. Commerce drives today’s festivals and many festivals have cropped up, imitating other festivals, even when they don’t have any tradition of that festival. As is the case with Valentine’s Day in India, it is a great opportunity for shoppers to bank on emotions of young and those in love, a few years back no one knew that such a festival even existed. There are so many expensive improvisations to the existing traditions which are all creations of commerce driven ventures organised in the name of festivals. The world does not need any more, exorbitant instruments of display; it needs innovative and economical usage of money, one which is constructive for the world and serves a far better purpose.

Cruelty towards Animals – Apart from the pollution affecting the animals, they have to face cruelty in the name of misguided religious activities. Certain practices of cultures around the world, involve the sacrifice of animals, which is mostly cruel in nature. Some animals are left to bleed while other are burned alive. The act of cruelty towards animals is increasing with the increase in the number and variety of animals ‘Facing the Axe’. A glaring malpractice, is the painful slaughter of cows, bulls, camels, buffaloes during Bakr Id, which traditionally used goats for feast. Another practice is that of tossing a goat from a bell tower in Manganeses de la Polverosa in Spain. No religion advocates cruelty towards any living being and yet these advocacies are ignored or manipulated to suit an individual’s desires.

Public Inconveniences – Traffic jams is the major inconvenience caused by huge processions and gatherings which display insensitive behaviour towards other’s people’s needs and emotions. Many such unorganised and at times uncontrolled masses result in unfortunate accidents and incidents, leading to chaos and injuries. Some people cross their limits in their festive spirit; they get drunk and take drugs. In such a condition they become a public nuisance indulging in fights, arguments and other anti-social activities, thereby disturbing the fabric of the society. Then there are those who don’t just want to stop partying and using loud music, till the wee hours. These acts are enjoyable for them, but there are others who are sick or studying for their exams. It isn’t that they shouldn’t celebrate but excess of everything is bad.

Disease – There is a large risk of acquiring and spreading disease during and post-festival period. Music festivals and others affect the behaviour of those involved in it as they tend to indulge in promiscuous behaviour. These acts spread communicable disease thereby making festivals a breeding ground of disease. The after effects of a festival can be seen when they end, the roads are filled with colour papers, flowers, food and other material strewn all over. This material if not properly disposed, spread infections of all sorts. Other disease can spread when people urinate and indulge in excrement in the open.  

Adulteration – Malpractices occur not only in traditional practices but also in eatables and other items sold during festivities. Greedy shopkeepers dilute certain drinks, sometimes with unhygienic water or ice. Others use cheap material in preparing dishes for increasing the quantity or enhancing the taste. Due to hunger, taste or carelessness, we tend to consume such eatables and fall sick. Cheap harmful imitation of Toys and other consumables are also rampant during festivals.

Wastage – Wastage of food and money are the major factors which go against festivals. People tend to show-off on such occasions with jewellery and ornaments, this psyche is infectious. This infection can be witnessed in social gatherings when women try to outdo each other in fashion and furniture. In their race to be superior they end up buying things which they may not even use. The mood of festivals is such, that it brings out the greed in us and under its influence we eat more than we should, buy more than we need, which is harmful. If we introspect this, we will realise that we have been wasting our money and time. It’s good to shop and take advantages of sales, but we should know where to stop. Certain festivals utilise food items for decoration and entertainment. These food items end up in streets, whilst it could have fed many. People buy food and when they aren’t able to consume it, they just throw it. Sometimes devotees overdo their devotion by presenting so many items that they cannot be stored or will get perished very quickly. All these practices are nothing short of wastage. There are other wastages involved too, but that’s another story.

Unnecessary Holidays – There are certain pressure groups which work for certain religious groups. Just like demand for creating new states and renaming certain cities, these groups demand for establishing certain occasions as ‘National Holiday’, which may not be required at all. But the authorities bend under pressure to prevent any bias related incidents. Some festivals have cropped up which don’t require a holiday to be celebrated but the larger population pursues them and evades work and study. This mass practice forces the authority, in an indirect manner to declare it a holiday.

Relevance of Festivals in Modern Times

The number of modern festivals seem to be rising, which might give a bright look, but not all serve the purpose they intend to. While traditional festivals still hold their values but over the years modern lifestyle has led to the decline in the importance of traditions. Therefore they are losing their original charm. There is a significant drop in the amount of merriment and pomp associated with these. People don't have time for such events while the young generation isn't much interested as they all ready have so many things that occupy their time like studies, parties, disco's etc. Money is another major concern, with the rice in prices throughout the world, people tend to spend their money on other areas of concern rather than merry making. Others don't celebrate or observe festivals because it is harmful to the environment, for example Diwali. Changing values and attitudes have marred the joy of Festivals to a certain level. Festivals today have also become source of commerce rather than for their actual practice, shopkeepers sell all kind of consumables on these occasions to take maximum benefit of the day. Though, not a bad idea, but it also leads people's mindset to relate festivals with commercial purposes instead of their actual purpose. There are also some malpractices that are involved in the observance of a festival which portrays a negative image amongst the public, they are thus looked down upon. Some modern festivals, have become a source of crime, disease and other anti-social activities, which in turn have adverse effect even on those which are free from these. Other traditional practices of a festival are being manipulated and changed as per the changing times, this makes the festival loose it's actual flavour. And last but not the least, some traditional practices of festivals have been corrupted to suit a groups individual interest, some who are aware of these malpractices not only condemn these but also discourage which takes away the joy of celebration. Festivals might not be celebrated with as much vigour or observed timidly but they do serve a purpose which goes even beyond the actual reason for the occasion. And it can be realised only when you become a part of it in the true sense by spreading joy, happiness and peace.

Festivals of India and World
JanuaryFebruaryMarch
  • Chapchar Kut
  • Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia
  • Goa Carnival
  • International Yoga Festival
  • Key West Conch Fest
  • Khepa
  • Brij (Braj) Festival
  • Losar
  • Parippally Gajamela (Paripally Gajamela - elephant pageant)
  • Khatu Shyamji Fair
  • Mahamaham
  • Aran Festival (Adis)
  • Austin's South by Southwest (SXSW)
  • New York International Children's Film Festival
  • Lathmar Holi
  • Vairamudi Brahmotsava
  • Canada Blooms Festival
  • Chaitti
  • Purim
  • Thirunakkara Arattu Utsavam
  • Bhagoria Festival
  • Chotrul Duchen
  • Gaura Purnima
  • Holi
  • Holla Mohalla
  • Bhumchu
  • Cinéma du Réel
  • Myoko Festival
  • National Cherry Blossom Festival
  • Macon Georgia's International Cherry Blossom Festival
  • Danda Nata/Jatra
  • Sheetala Ashtami
  • Mati Puja (Surhul)
  • Elephanta Festival
  • Jaipur Elephant Festival
  • Melbourne International Comedy Festival
  • Cape Town International Jazz Festival
  • Hoysala Mahotsava
  • Keladevi Fair (Kaila Devi Mela)
  • Mlokom Yulo
  • Nauchandi Mela
  • Beri ka Mela
  • Big Apple Salsa Festival
  • Cheti Chand
  • Gudi Padwa
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba
  • Yugadi
April
  • Attuvela Mahotsavam
  • Baisagn
  • Monyu
  • Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
  • Gangaur
  • Mewar Festival
  • Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia
  • Aoleang Monyu
  • Mopin Festival
  • Yamuna Jayanti
  • Ashok Ashtami
  • Winnipeg Comedy Festival
  • Bahu Mela
  • Mahaveer Ji Fair
  • Ram Navami
  • Karni Mata Mela
  • Chaitra Parba
  • Chaitraul
  • Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
  • Kashmir Tulip Festival
  • Kundang Lem
  • Hingula Yatra
  • Jammu Festival
  • Mahavir Jayanti
  • Shad Suk Mynsiem Festival
  • Songkran
  • Baisakhi
  • Chaitra Chaudas Mela
  • Sangken Festival
  • Sanken Festival
  • Tamil New Year (Varushapirapu)
  • Vishu
  • Vishuva Sankranti (Pana Sankranti)
  • Baseli Puja
  • Basoa Festival
  • Bengali New Year (Poila Baisakh)
  • Bihu
  • Hanuman Jayanti
  • Karaga Festival
  • Lai Haraoba
  • Inferno Metal Festival - Norway
  • New York City's Tribeca Film Festival
  • Green Apple Festival
  • National Folk Festival, Australia
  • Cambridge Science Festival
  • Sydney Comedy Festival
  • Halifax Comedy Festival
  • Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival
  • International Dance Festival Birmingham
  • Ottawa International Writers Festival
  • Mela Masani Mata
  • Moh Mol Festival
  • Chosker
  • Umsan Nongkharai
May
  • Chithirai Festival
  • Moatsü Mong
  • Parasuram Jayanti
  • Urs
  • World Durian Festival
  • Grampians Grape Escape
  • Surdas Jayanti
  • Shankaracharya Jayanti
  • Tsükhenyie
  • Canadian Tulip Festival
  • Rabindranath Tagore Jayanti
  • Summer Festival - Mount Abu
  • Nebraska's Children's Groundwater Festival
  • Buddha Purnima
  • Cannes Film Festival
  • Bay to Breakers
  • Dublin Dance Festival
  • Movement Electronic Music Festival - Detroit
  • Sakewa
  • Luton International Carnival
  • Reading Community Carnival
  • Waterloo Wellington Children's Groundwater Festival
  • Lailatul Isra Wal Mi Raj (Shab-e-Meraj)
  • World Science Festival
  • FunnyFest Calgary Comedy Festival
June
  • Northern Saskatchewan International Children's Festival
  • Sindhu Darshan Festival
  • Winnipeg International Children's Festival
  • Summer Garden Festival, Latvia
  • Ganga Dussehra
  • Nuneaton Carnival
  • Maharana Pratap Jayanti
  • Isle of Wight Festival
  • Kailash Saga Dawa Festival
  • Northampton Caribbean Carnival
  • Shanghai International Film Festival
  • Sheedi Mela
  • Mithuna Sankranti (Raja Parba)
  • Melbourne International Animation Festival
  • Ottawa Dragon Boat Race Festival
  • Paradise Gardens Festival - Victoria
  • Arena di Verona Festival
  • Moha
  • World Music Day (Fete de la Musique)
  • Ambubachi Mela
  • Tottenham Carnival
  • Longborough Festival Opera
  • Glastonbury Festival
  • Summerfest - U.S.A.
  • Vassiliki Watersports Festival
  • Beat City Carnival
  • ComFest - Columbus, Ohio
  • Friendship Festival - Ontario
  • Ashburton Carnival
  • Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Carnival
  • Central City Opera
  • Preston City Caribbean Carnival
  • Rath Yatra
July
  • Van Mahotsav
  • Garden Festival - Croatia
  • International Mango Festival - Delhi
  • Kalachakra Puja
  • Metaltown Festival - Sweden
  • Calgary Stampede
  • Godiva Carnival Procession
  • Sonisphere Festival
  • Acton Carnival
  • Dree Festival
  • Kharchi Puja
  • National Cherry Festival - Michigan
  • Norwich Lord Mayor Carnival
  • St. Pauls Carnival
  • Cowley Road Carnival
  • Festival of San Fermin
  • Hemis Festival
  • Tuluni
  • Behdienkhlam
  • Just for Laughs Comedy Festival - Montreal
  • Taste of Chicago
  • Electric Elephant Festival
  • Asalha Puja
  • Brentwood Cornfest
  • Naadam Festival
  • Fairchild's International Mango Festival
  • Guru Purnima
  • Liverpool International Carnival
  • Newham Carnival
  • Pori Jazz Festival
  • Naknyu Lem
  • Pori Festival - Himachal Pradesh
  • Reggae Sumfest
  • Brighton Carnival
  • Khuthonye
  • Harela Mela
  • Aadi Pirappu
  • Rock Fest - U.S.A
  • Caribbean Carnival of Manchester
  • Cleethorpes Carnival Parade
  • Derby Caribbean Carnival
  • Minjar Mela
  • Karsha Gustor Festival
  • Love Parade
  • Gilroy Garlic Festival
  • Jazz in Marciac Festival
  • Coventry Caribbean Festival
  • Gloucester Carnival
  • Hastings Old Town Carnival
  • Sandown Main Carnival
  • Eid-ul-Fitr
  • Aadi Pooram
  • Teej
  • Dukpa Tse Shi (Drupka Teshi)
August
  • Bhaderwah Mela
  • Esala Perahera
  • Midwest Reggae Festival
  • Nag Panchami (Gugga Naumi)
  • Tsüngrem Mong
  • Leicester Caribbean Carnival
  • MuslimFest - Toronto
  • Ryde Carnival
  • Aadi Perukku
  • Birmingham International Carnival
  • Carnaval del Pueblo
  • Diocese of Cleveland Family Festival (The Fest)
  • Folklorama Festival
  • Khudurukuni Osha
  • Metemneo Festival (Metumniu)
  • Guru Rimpoche's Trungkar Tshechu
  • Edinburgh International Festival
  • Gäubodenvolksfest
  • Tendong Lho Rum Faat
  • Cardiff MAS Carnival
  • Edinburgh International Book Festival
  • Balaram Jayanti (Gamha Purnima)
  • Balham and Tooting Carnival
  • Chinese Ghost Festival
  • Trung Nguyen Festival
  • Great British Beer Festival
  • Kajli Teej Festival
  • Australian Museum Science Festival
  • Nottingham Caribbean Carnival
  • V Festival
  • Janmashtami
  • Parsi New Year
  • Rongchu Gala
  • Navakhana
  • Weymouth Carnival
  • Montreal World Film Festival
  • Phang Lhabsol
  • Seoul International Youth Film Festival
  • Pori Folk Festival
  • Devizes Carnival
  • Burning Man Festival
  • Leeds West Indian Carnival Day
  • La Tomatina
  • Venice Film Festival
  • Ganesh Chaturthi
  • North Carolina Apple Festival
  • Tarnetar Mela
  • Nuakhai
  • Paryushana
September
  • Manarcad Perunnal
  • Solung Festival
  • World Coconut Day
  • Tsukimi Festival (Otsukimi or Moon Viewing Festival)
  • Festival Western de Saint-Tite
  • British Science Festival
  • Onam
  • Anant Chaturthi (Anant Chaturdashi)
  • Chappar Mela
  • Moon Festival (Mid-Autumn Festival )
  • Bhadrapada Ambaji Fair
  • Mim Kut
  • Pitr Paksha
  • Sairi Festival
  • Aranmula Vallamkali
  • Dusseldorf Festival
  • Phulaich Fair
  • Bera Utsav
  • Cape Festival
  • Kendal Torchlight Carnival
  • Hackney Carnival
  • Heikru Hitongba (Heikru Hidongba)
  • Jackson County Apple Festival
  • Sair Fair
  • Ottawa International Animation Festival
  • Monterey Jazz Festival
  • Ram Barat
  • San Sebastian International Film Festival
  • Winnipeg International Writers Festival
  • Abergavenny Food Festival
  • Ladakh Festival
  • Oktoberfest
  • Baba Sodal Mela
  • Durham Children's Groundwater Festival
  • Neelamperoor Pooram Padayani
  • Festes de La Mercè
  • Manektari Punam Fair
  • Raindance Film Festival
  • Ramlila
  • MOJA Arts Festival
  • Navaratri
  • Sri Vithappa Fair
  • Rayalaseema Festival
  • Tirumala Brahmotsavam
  • Durga Puja
  • Basdoda Fair
October
  • Maha Saptami
  • Maha Ashtami
  • Matasya Festival - Alwar
  • Sitabari Fair
  • Ayudha Mela
  • Dussehra
  • Franklin Applefest
  • Aranyam International Environment and Wildlife Film Festival
  • Id-ul-Adha
  • Pomblang Lewduh
  • Tsokum Festival
  • Yemshe
  • Kashmir Saffron Festival
  • Kumar Purnima
  • Laxmi Puja
  • Marwar Festival
  • Maharishi Valmiki Jayanti
  • Guru Ram Das Ji's Birthday
  • Maschinenfest
  • Sheetla Saras Mela
  • Barbanki Mela (Dewa Mela)
  • Karva Chauth
  • Koratty Muthys Feast Festival
  • Columbus Day
  • Bongvum
  • Fantasy Fest
  • Tula Sankramana
  • UBC Apple Festival
  • Wildscreen Festival
  • Dhanteras
  • Diwali
  • Kali Puja
  • Chicago International Children's Film Festival
  • Mha Puja
  • Saffron Rose Festival - Consuegra
  • Bateshwar Fair
  • Bhai-Dooj
  • Ningol Chakouba
  • Pushkar Fair
  • Chhath Puja
  • Chega Gadi
  • Kolayat Fair
  • Halloween
  • The Fest - Gainesville
November
  • Aanvla Navmi
  • All Saints' Day
  • Autumn Festival Shillong - India
  • Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival
  • Hat Yai Lantern Festival
  • Jagaddhatri Puja
  • Wangnamkeow Flora Fantasia
  • Parumala Perunnal
  • Dev Uthani Ekadashi
  • Ganga Mahotsav
  • Kalidas Festival
  • Lili Parikrama Fair (Girnar Parikrama)
  • Renuka Fair
  • Shamlaji Fair
  • Muharram
  • Tulsi Vivah
  • Bada Osha
  • Chandrabhaga Fair
  • Bali Yatra
  • Godachi Fair
  • Guru Nanak Dev Ji Jayanti
  • Jhiri Mela
  • Kapal Mochan Fair
  • Kartik Purnima
  • Kundri Mela
  • Nimar Utsav
  • Rash Mela
  • Thalfavang Kut
  • Vautha Fair
  • Saram Cha'A
  • Sound Summit - Australia
  • Tokhu Emong
  • Wangala Festival
  • Warsaw Salsa Festival
  • Bundi Utsav
  • Hamir Utsav
  • Lavi Fair
  • Ka Pomblang Nongkrem (Nongkrem Dance Festival)
  • Lhabab Duchen
  • Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema
  • Ahuna Festival
  • Kalpathi Ratholsavam
  • Kartik Cultural Festival
  • London Jazz Festival (EFG)
  • Owen Sound's Festival of Northern Lights
  • Surin Elephant Round-up
  • Celebrate Bandra
  • Prathamastami
  • Qutub Festival
  • Paangmo
  • Sonepur Cattle Fair
  • Hawaii Healing Garden Festival
  • International Documentary Film Festival - Amsterdam
  • Beaujolais Nouveau Festival
  • Ficksburg Cherry Festival
  • Majuli Festival
  • Lucknow Festival (Lucknow Mahotsav)
  • Teesta Tea and Tourism festival
  • Puri Beach Festival
  • Seng Kut Snem
  • Chalo Loku
  • Ngada Festival
  • Thanksgiving
  • Chandigarh Carnival
  • Mondei Festival
  • Turks and Caicos Conch Festival
  • Vaikathashtami Festival
  • Pinjore Heritage Festival
December
  • Hornbill Festival
  • Rann Utsav - Kutch
  • Gita Jayanti
  • Kurukshetra Utsav
  • Samsing Jaldaka Orange Festival
  • Yellamma Devi Fair
  • Perumthitta Tharavad Kottamkuzhy
  • Tansen Samaroh
  • Lokranjan
  • Chumpha Festival
  • Lumbini Festival
  • Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav
  • Siron Molo Sochum
  • Chennai Dance & Music Festival (Margazhi Festival)
  • Pawl Kut
  • Toshali National Crafts Mela
  • Ganden Ngamchoe
  • Kagyed
  • Losoong
  • Namsoong
  • Poush Mela
  • Dyali Festival
  • Vishnupur Festival (Bishnupur Mela)
  • Christmas Eve
  • Gulmarg Snow Festival
  • Christmas
  • Cochin Carnival
  • Harballabh Sangeet Mela
  • Shaheedi Jor Mela
  • Tarpa Festival
  • Nyempa Guzom
  • Rajgir Mahotsav
  • Ice Skating Carnival - Shimla
  • Kanathoor Nalvar Bhoothasthanam
  • Tel Moreeb International Festival
  • Winter Festival - Mount Abu
  • Tamu Lochar (Gurung)
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