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A Festival to Cherish Our Differences

In 20th Century America, Christmas and New Year along with a super-bowl game, a department store promotion, and a t.v. run of Bogart films are all called "festival." The word is used so loosely we tend to overlook the serious regenerative function of festivals in early civilizations.

Festivals developed to strengthen people's sense of community by ritualizing common experience. The word itself comes to us from two related Latin words, festus, joyful and festum, feast. Some contemporary festivals continue this dual tradition of joyful celebration and feast, offering many venerable traits and haps of our most ancient seasonal holidays.

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