Festivals make part of the lives of people in different societies whether modern or traditional. They have been manifest in all societies from time immemorial, ingrained in their belief systems and ways of life. The participants vary depending on age, economic background, social background, academic achievements and professional achievements (for instance the professional position of a rain maker in the African societies). However, the main question is; what really makes these festivals unique and keeps people interested in them. This I will try to explore in reference to my own believes experiences and expectations.
What do you think makes each and every festival special and individual?
Festivals are social events in which many people sharing cultural, religious or professional values come together to celebrate and is centered on and celebrates the unique aspect of the community and the festival. The term is historically interchangeable with the word feast. Every festival is made individual and special by the people participating in the festival and the purpose of the festival. For instance, if the community taking part in the festival have believes in supernatural powers, they tend to show veneration to their ancestors and gods which will make such a ceremony unique compared to a ceremony among Christians which centers in the believe in existence of one supreme being. Equally, a community that believes in frequent attacks by evil spirits is more likely to hold ceremonies that are aimed at exorcising the evil spirits which makes it different from a festival held by people to whose purpose is to solicit for rain from their gods following a long period of drought. The period of the year in which this festival is celebrated also will make it unique. For example, the celebration of the new year festival is unique since it happens just at the start of the new year, compared to other celebrations that happen within the year; for instance the Easter ceremony among the Christians. The age of the participants in the festival also makes it unique. For instance, the child festivals held in big cities during holidays has its main participants being children unlike many of the festivals where the main participants are adults. Most of these festivals bring people together to celebrate and enjoy the moment.
What entertainment you like to see at festivals and why?
In attending a festival, I would like to see entertainment like plays, music, poetry, and dance. All these activities would bring out the theme of the festival. If taking part in children’s festivals, I would like to see many small kids running around with painted faces, merry go rounds, roller coasters, clowns, a lot of food, cotton candies, drinks, music and dunk tanks. In a traditional festival I would like to see traditional outfits, speaking of native language, indigenous foods and people who are happy to share their culture. A dance festival should have good music and equally good dancers. The dancers need to be in their dancing attire. The music needs to complement the dancers just so that they are not in synch with the beats. In a sports festival, participants from all age groups should be involved so that everybody enjoys themselves. The different groups should compete in games such as baseball, swimming, lacrosse and football. A crowd is also encouraged to cheer their teams with songs and dances. Prizes and gifts should be awarded to the winning team to motivate them and make the event more enjoyable.
If you had visited a festival what did you like about it?
I attended a children’s drama festival in October this year and many of the performances were by children. Several aspects of the festivals were eye opening. First, the plays were very entertaining. I also liked the fact that the plays depicted what happens in our daily lives. Also, it served as an avenue to identify emerging talents among children, like skills in acting and public speaking. Apart from it being centered on children, I interacted with many people and got to make new friends we had a meal and drinks and listened to music together. This created a good rapport among the parents and boosted the friendship and co-operation among the children, which goes a long way in improving cohesion in society from a tender age. The fact that the festival brought children and adults from different social, economic and religious background and the performances were staged by children, it served to remind people of the need to accept each other in society irrespective of their religious, economic and social background as exhibited by children who are not aware of such stratifications in society.
If you had to go to a festival, what would you like to see there?
In a festival, if specific to a certain group, I would like to see their culture through their mode of dressing, food, and music. This is because it will help me understand their way of life, beliefs and values. At a funfair, I would like to see roller coasters, thrill rides, shooting gallery games, animals, tractor rides, live music and dunk tanks. If attending a religious festival, like an Easter celebration for Christians, people attending church, receive Easter eggs, baskets and also sharing a meal with family and friends. In a dance festival, I would like to dancers in their costumes, for example ballet dancers in ballet costumes. I would also hear the music they dance to.
What would make you go to a festival?
Some of the factors that can make me attend a festival include curiosity. An interest in understanding why a group of people believe in something will make me attend their festivals to get a feel of their “native Life”. For instance, I will be keen to attend an African rain making ceremony in a bid to understand why they believe in the gods “giving” them rain. Also, I will attend a festival to enjoy myself. For instance, the children’s festival is really entertaining with such activities as dancing, the music and the food. Also, I will go to a festival if I am a participant in that festival. Also, I will attend a festival if I am taking my small brother to that festival. I can also attend a festival if I am invited as a guest. Equally, I can take part in a festival if I am doing it as part of academic work, for instance when doing research on the different festivals in a society or when trying to find out the impact or importance or purpose of certain festivals to the communities that perform them.
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