Yesterday the USA celebrated Thanksgiving – a national festival that was established relatively recently (1863 – though some USians don’t celebrate it at all, for various reasons) and involves certain foods and rituals – most prominently, the ritual of each participant giving thanks, out loud, before the big meal – or so the movies tell me.
And I came over all amateur anthropologist and starting thinking about all our various festivals: where they come from; what they mean; and why we still celebrate some, abandon others, and invent more. So it’s over to you, lovely nerdy ladies and gentlemen:
- What historical festival would you revive, if you could?
Personally, for the former, I’m torn between Bealtaine* (Bonfires! Cattle! Cattle jumping over bonfires!) and the Eleusinian Mysteries (so compelling – and possibly pyschotropic – that what went on during them is still a secret thousands of years later).
But us humans are a versatile lot, so I’m also wondering
- What new festival would you institute? When, where, why, and what would people do to celebrate it?
Have at it on this and whatever else springs to mind in the comments.
*pronounced like ‘byal-thih-neh’ for those who haven’t been taught the delights of IPA.