Festivals in Different Cultures

In different cultures around the world, it’s easy to see that people share common traits. Celebrating and the need to bring the community together are two traits that can be found among people across the globe. Festivals are a way where these two traits can be celebrated. Some of the festivals can be based on religion, while others are cultural, community based or even based on food and spirits.
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There are numerous religious festivals that commenced with the Catholic church. Some of the festivals were inspired by Lent and others were inspired by different Saints. One of the biggest festivals in the world is Carnival where two million people come to Rio De Janerio, Brazil to celebrate. The first trace of where this inspiration came from was by the Greeks and Romans, celebrating a similar tradition for their gods. When Catholicism arrived at Brazil, the people started a tradition to celebrate the religion 40 days before Catholic lent. The origin of the word Carnival means “farewell to meat” which originates back to the Catholic practice Ash Wednesday. The first trace of the Carnival festival began in the 19th century. It first started off as a ball that was inspired by the Portuguese, because balls were so popular in Portuguese, they brought it to Brazil. At the time, participants were only performing the waltz and polka. African culture also had a huge influence on this Carnival that it is today. When African slaves were brought to Brazil in the 1900s, they brought some their culture with them, which included their unique masks, costumes, and dances. One of the dances Africans brought with them is a style called samba. They used this dance as a way to escape their harsh conditions during slavery. In the 1920s, Rio created over 200 samba schools. These schools are divided into five leagues and compete each other for the best performances, costumes, and floats. The most significant thing about this dance was it brought local neighborhoods together and made the unrepresented
Brazilians feel accepted in their community and made them want to participate in the parade. The samba dance has now made one of the biggest impacts in Brazilian culture. A holiday festival that was majorly influenced Catholicism is St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland. St. Patrick was a real person that was born in Roman Britain in the 4th century. He was just a teenager when he was kidnapped from Britain and taken to Ireland where he worked as a slave. He later escaped and moved back to Ireland where he was converting the Irish to Christianity. By the time he died he left a big influence on the Irish culture and ever since then Ireland celebrated his achievements by celebrating his day with religious services and feasts. The Irish-Americans were actually the ones who made it the world-wide holiday it is today. Places with large populations of Irish immigrants that had political power would make these stylish festivals that were deep rooted with their culture. In 1737, Boston held their first St. Patrick’s Day parade. In today’s day, cities across the world celebrate this holiday by wearing green for the color of shamrock and even would dye some of the city’s rivers green as well as their beer.
Another religious festival that was based on the Catholic church was Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana. This holiday originated and was inspired by the Roman festivals. Christianity placed a big part in this holiday because they made this tradition continue to be a part of Roman culture, instead of abolishing it. This holiday was brought to America in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1699. The Spanish that colonized New Orleans at the time abolished the holiday later because the rituals were getting out of control until 1812 when Louisiana became a part of the U.S. The first ever recorded New Orleans Mardi Gras parade took place in the mid-1800s after being inspired by a group of students who were making up their own parade by wearing colorful costumes and dancing through the streets. In 1857, there was an underground society called the Mistick Krewe that was organizing a march with marching bands and rolling floats which later inspired the future of what the festival is today. In today’s festival you can expect an amazing parade that have people walking in the parade with extraordinary costumes and masks throwing beads while walking with or on decorating floats.

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