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A festival or gala is an event ordinarily staged by a local community, which centers on and celebrates some unique aspect of that community and the Festival.
Among many religions, a feast is a set of celebrations in honour of God or gods. A feast and a festival are historically interchangeable. However, the term "feast" has also entered common secular parlance as a synonym for any large or elaborate meal. When used as in the meaning of a festival, most often refers to a religious festival rather than a film or art festival.
In the Christian liturgical calendar there are two principal feasts, properly known as the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord (Christmas) and the Feast of the Resurrection, (Easter). In the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican liturgical calendars there are a great number of lesser feasts throughout the year commemorating saints, sacred events, doctrines, etc.
The word fest derives from the Middle English, from Middle French word festivus, from the Latin word festivus or festus (happy). It 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. Feast first came into usage as a noun circa 1200, and feast was used as a verb circa 1300. Also, 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, usually annually.
Seasonal are determined by the solar and the lunar calendars and by the cycle of the seasons. The changing of the season was celebrated because of its effect on food supply. Ancient Egyptians would enjoy the seasonal inundation caused by the Nile River, a form of irrigation, which provided fertile land for crops. In the Alps, in autumn the return of the cattle from the mountain pastures to the stables in the valley is celebrated as Almabtrieb. A recognized winter festival, the Chinese New Year, is set by the lunar calendar, and celebrated from the day of the second new moon after the winter solstice. An important type of seasonal festivals are those related with the agricultural seasons. Dree Festival of the Apatanis living in Lower Subansiri District of Arunachal Pradesh is one such important festival, which is celebrated every year from July 4 to 7 praying for bumper crop harvest. The Vaisakhi festival marking the new year and birth of the Khalsa.
While many Ancient Egyptian festivals were religious, they also had those that were not. One such festival established by Rameses III to celebrate his victory over the Libyans. When feasts occurred, they were either determined by lunar cycles or the Egyptian calendar. Festivals were large celebrations with plenty of food available. In one festival in the 12th century BC, 11,341 loaves of bread and 385 jars of beer were given to the public. The Sed festival celebrated the thirtieth year of a pharaoh's rule and then every three (or four in one case) years after that.
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|Wikisource has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article Festivals.|