World over various occasions and events are celebrated or observed. These events and occasions can be Festivals, Fairs, Important Days, Carnivals, Fetes, Ceremonies, National Holidays, Observations etc. These all have different names but in general they are all same names of different social gatherings. These can be annual, weekly, monthly or otherwise depending upon the country where it is being observed. A Festival is a special occasion of feasting or celebration, that is usually religious. There can be many different types of festival, like Halloween and Christmas. The word 'Fest' derives from the Middle English, from Middle French word 'Festivus', from the Latin word 'Festivus'. Festival was first recorded as a noun in 1589. Before it had been used as an adjective from the fourteenth century, meaning to celebrate a church holiday. There are numerous types of festivals in the world. Though many have religious origins, others involve seasonal change or have some cultural significance. Certain institutions celebrate their own festival (often called "fests") to mark some significant occasions in their history. These occasions could be the day these institutions were founded or any other event which they decide to commemorate periodically.
Important Days and Festivals - Important Days are either celebrated or observed for a noble cause, as a remembrance or as tribute to some important event / personality. But in modern times various Days have cropped up which are not really important or have a significant importance. Such days have been popularised by various commercial establishments all over the world. Today there is no Day of the year which has been named or is not observed or associated with one thing or the other. And the numbers are still rising and that day is not far when a Single Day will have Multiple observations. Important Days are generally associated with Organisations of repute and serve a bigger purpose of benefiting people world over by supporting and promoting causes which are for the welfare of the society as a whole. United Nations is one such Organisation which has established and sponsored such noble causes. On the other hand Festivals are tradition based and have far more acceptability than Important Days. Therefore the are observed with much more enthusiasm and participation. They also have their roots in Ancient Customs and traditions because of which they are more popular. Though these too have not escaped commercialisation. But as a whole they are more grounded than animated. Happy New Year and Christmas are two most popular social events in the world.
Types of Festivals
Country Specific Festival
Some Important Days
Anti Drug Day
Child Rights Day
Girl Child Day
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
International Labour Day
National Labour Day
Prevention of Blindness Week
Road Safety Week
World AIDS Day
Festivals in India - Festivals have been celebrated since the Vedic age. In those times the Aryans ruled over the Sapta Sindhu region and the oldest Indian texts, the Vedas, were composed. They were born out of the ritualistic worship that was performed to appease the Gods, the masters of nature. However, they evolved into special occasions, days which broke the monotony of the daily struggle of life, days of enjoyment and entertainment. Women looked forward to these days, as they were relieved of their duties from the house. Apart from religious ceremonies, festivals were also days for chariot races, religious dramas, dances, musical performances and gambling. Arenas were set up where young men participated in wrestling competitions. The atmosphere was one of freedom, joy and celebration. In India Diwali is the most Popular and Common Festivals which is celebrated by all communities in India. Diwali is also observed in various countries like U.S.A, Canada, many European and Asian Countries as well. In these countries, Diwali is even observed as a Public Holiday. Other Popular Festivals are - Holi, Gurpurab, Id, ,
Some Important Ancient Festivals
Grishmaparva - It was held on a full-moon day during the month of Phagun (February / March)
Ashtanika - An important Jain festival that lasted eight days. Jain deities were worshipped after a holy bath.
Sun Festivals - In these Sun god Surya was worshipped, especially by the Hindus of Multan.
The Bow Festival - It was celebrated by kings and noblemen for the worship of Shiva. Bows and arrows were decorated and worshipped. An especially famous occasion on which this festival was celebrated was during the Dhanur Yajna, where Ram won over Sita, as recorded in the Ramayana.
Dohada Purana - It took place in the spring, when women mated with trees, which once "married", were said to have blossomed. An unusual, romantic ritual. With time, the old religions diversified to form new sects and forms of belief. A number of these rituals and ceremonies faded away, to be replaced by varied methods of worship.
Importance of Festivals and Alike
Festivals provide entertainment to the Audience as well as the participants
Such occasions keep the ancient Traditions and Customs alive which would cease to exist if they were not observed
Festivals which focus on Cultural or Ethnic topics seek to inform members of their traditions
They also act as a source of knowledge transfer from one (old ) to another (new) generation
They also acts as means for uniting a community, culture, families etc.
These celebrations also offer a sense of belonging for religious social, or geographical groups.
Festivals also offer economic opportunity for those involved in merchandising these occasions.
Festivals are also associated with Tourism and as such act as a source of income for the people, capital for the government and dissemination of information amongst foreigners about different cultures and people.