Even our most popular and modern holidays have origins lost in antiquity. Halloween is believed to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. Groundhog’s day is founded upon the ancient celebration of Candlemas, a holiday marking the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Research also suggests that man has celebrated such occasions in just about every conceivable manner. For at least 200 years locals from the village of Brockworth have attempted to catch rolling cheese wheels as the roll down the Cooper’s Hill, near Gloucester, England. Pushkar, in the state of Rajasthan, India, host over 50,000 camels, and 250,000 people every November,. During Pushkar, camels are shaved, dressed up, entered into beauty contests, paraded, raced, and finally, traded. In similar fashion, hordes gather in Gilroy, an even smaller California village, each year to pay homage to garlic. The menu includes, garlic soup, garlic pie, garlic kebabs, and garlic sandwiches. Most hometowns, of course, feature slightly tamer fairs. Milford Ohio-our hometown- each year throws a bash called Frontier Days. This year was the festival’s fiftieth anniversary. The celebration included a spaghetti eating contest, a jumping frog competition, games of chance beer and live music. And, as is want to happen everywhere at festival time, people became just a little bit more primitive once the sun went down. After all, why fight tradition?
Festivals, fairs,carnivals; call them what you will. The need for man to gather, interact and celebrate-especially at times which mark or coincide with harvests and/or the changing of the seasons- appears as ancient as man’s existence. Scholars date festivals in India back to Vedic times. Such celebrations even, according to some, involved racing rhinoceroses.