Festivals are said to define who we are. These are sets of traditions that we follow in a certain community. For China and Europe, their festivals are alike in such way that they all prepare extravagantly for the event with costumes, dishes and etcetera (Richardson, 2006). These festivals also commemorate a certain person or event that is of great importance for the people in the country or community. Some festivities like the Saint Valentines’ day and Christmas day are also alike in some ways. For instance, valentines day is the time were people express their love for the people that they care about just like in Christmas.
Though Valentines Day connote lovers and couples it still gives the message of love in the same way as Christmas is the day of love and sharing(Pleck, 1999). The color red is also very popular during these festivities since it is the color of love. The atmosphere of the two festivals is the same since there is an air of love, sharing and compassion. People exchange gifts and they have an icon that represents them. For valentines it is the cupid and for Christmas it is Santa(Elevale, 2007). However they vary in time since the former is on February 14 and Christmas is on December 25.
New Year on the other hand is different from the festivals mentioned above. It is more related to other Chinese festivals since they ward off evil spirits through the use of fireworks. This festival is also not about love and sharing but of a fresh start. There are no figures or icons associated with it unlike that of Christmas and Valentines Day. Just like in the Dragon Boat Festival, the main focus is scaring away the evil in the home. The Dragon Boat festival in China is called “Duan Wu Jie” in Chinese and it is celebrated along with Mid-autumn festival and Chinese New year.
It is one of the three major festivals celebrated on the fifth lunar month of the Chinese calendar and on its fifth day which normally falls on June 5. This is also known as the double fifth day. The fifth day of the month is believed by the Chinese to be the month of the devil since this is the time were disease become rampant. The Dragon Boat festival is done to drive away these evil spirits. This festival has the longest record in history because of its relevance to the lives of its citizens. Through the festival they are reminded to take care of their health and drive away evil spirits.
This festival is highlighted by dragon boat races. Contestants ride in colorful boats with dragon designs and they row together with the rhythm of the drums. There are also special dishes that are associated with the festival. A few of these is the hsiung huan wine that adults drink to prevent evil from invading their body and to bring inner peace. Another dish is the tzung tzu which is a rice ball that was believed to e eaten by Chu Yuan before he drowned. Chu Yuan is a Poet who took his own life by jumping off the boat when he felt that there is nothing that he could do to save his country from bad luck.
He was known to be a good man y his neighbors so to prevent the fish from eating his body they threw food to the river to feed the fishes. They also right on boats with loud drums to scare the fishes. The fierce dragons are also added to the head of the boat. His neighbors rushed to the river to find his body and that is where the dragon race is said to have originated. It is said that the dragon festival is done to commemorate his death in 277 B. C. at the fifth day of the fifth lunar month (low, 2006).
Since then the festival has evolved into eating the rice dumplings instead of throwing them to the fishes and because this festival also reminded them to take care of their health, they hanged herbs at their front doors. The most significant part of the festival is done at 12 noon where they try to balance and egg and make is stand. If they can do it, they will have a lucky year. The festival in Italy on the other hand is different of that in China. The focus is on the streets and not in the river. They decorate it with lights and vendors begin to line up the streets.
The Festa della Madonna Bruna is a celebration of the people’s devotion to the brown madona (Foschino, 2002). This is where men in horses and costumes parade the streets and they guard the float of the brown madona. The brown Madona is used by knights to protect them in battles. They would paint her face on their shields and on their chariots(Lee, 2000). People try to get a piece of this paper mache ripping it into pieces. The float is then reduced into just chicken wire and a few paper since the devotees have already torn it apart.
But this act is not just an extreme form of fanaticism but is supported by their faith. This means that by destroying the old they give way to the new(Bakerjian, 2003). It is rebirth. This festival happens on the 2nd of July. The history of this festival goes as far as 1389, not as old as that in China. They also don’t have special dishes. The festival is just ended with an extravagant fireworks display at the church(Martin, 2000). These festivals reflect the values and the history of the people who celebrate it. Though some of them may seem a bit peculiar, they bear certain significance to the community.
They are celebrated with zest and joyfulness that the entire community is caught up in preparation. It is also anticipated by many. These festivals are important to the lives of the people since they have beliefs that they find necessary for their daily lives. Though these festivals have certain differences, they are intended to celebrate or commemorate the events that are important for the people and their community. It is a way of reliving the history of a community that has paved way into what the community has become. These are the events that shaped the lives of the populace either through religion or common practices.
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