WOW Word-Of-the-Week #421: Festivity

August 29, 2012 by  

Festivity – the pleasure, joy, and gaiety of a festival or celebration.

When was the last time you enjoyed the festivity of a celebration? Do you like going to festivals? Do you remember the last one you attended? Are you like me and just don’t like crowds?

I have to say that I am pretty surprised by how I am feeling about taking part in festivals. We started our Spain trip in Pamplona for the Running of the Bulls and are ending it this week in Buñol for La Tomatina, which is the Tomato Festival. Last September we went to Galway Bay, Ireland for the Oyster Festival. This is all new for me!

What I am discovering about myself is that I love the smaller celebrations. I love the joy and gaiety that all of the people bring to the event. I am getting to experience local traditions that are very different than what I have ever seen or have ever been a part of.

This week we got to Buñol on Monday and walked into the small town of 9000 residents. Not many tourists had arrived yet and I loved sitting and watching the locals. That night was the paella cook off. The street by the park, which was over four blocks long, was lined on both sides with families and groups cooking. They put sand on the pavement to create their fire pit, had firewood, a metal stand to make their stove, and their big metal pans with handles. It was unlike anything I had ever seen.

Tuesday night they lined the main street with tables and chairs. They brought their dinner and ate and drank. We ate and drank alongside them and enjoyed the “show.”

Then this morning at 8:15 we started for the center of town where La Tomatina is held. The street was already filling and the main plaza was “packed like sardines.” I was really glad that we had negotiated to share the roof top of a home with the family yesterday!

We have had incredible experiences being at these festivals and watching it all happen. There were times when I definitely felt outside of my comfort zone and inside someone else’s! For someone who said, “I don’t like crowds” – who knows – we may turn into “Festival Junkies!”

This week’s focus is on festivity. What kind of a celebration would bring you pleasure or joy? How would it feel to bring an atmosphere of festivity to work? What could you do to create pleasure and joy for your customers, guests, clients or members?

Reader Responses

“There is something about a neighborhood festival that allows us to belong. That sense of community allows people who are new to the area a chance to celebrate; not necessarily the type of neighborhood but simply being with other people and having fun. And in those type of festivals, everyone wants to be around other people to enjoy the music, the food and the moment. That sharing, that festivity, is something that reminds me of a book I am reading right now entitled “Take Time Out For Paradise,” by the late Commissioner of Baseball A. Bartlett Giamatti. His whole premise is that the leisure time we spend, especially in communities, brings us closer to the idea of Paradise. Every year at the Fourth of July in our town of Arlington Heights, IL, we have Frontier Days. Basically, the carnival comes to town and our daughters get a chance to see all of their school friends, some teachers and people we know. The kids love the carnival rides and the games. It reminds me of the old midways in Lake Geneva, WI, for their annual summer festival. In addition, there are pop and rock bands, some old time rock ‘n roll groups like Loverboy, Kansas, The Ides of March, Eddie Money, Dennis DeYoung and this year, Burton Cummings, former lead singer of the Guess Who. It was great. Just being with friends, family and the community makes these kind of festivals fun. Now, the crowds that I am trying to avoid are the professional football fans. I have not been to Soldier Field to see the Chicago Bears since 1997. The game that I attended that day convinced me that I did not want to attend another professional football game again. Throughout the game, security officials were escorting people out of the stadium, either for fighting or excessive drinking. It just was not enjoyable. When we do go to a football game, it is usually at Northwestern University. No alcohol is served at the game, but there are students in the parking lot drinking as part of their pre- and post-game tailgating. Usually, they don’t bother anyone. We can bring our girls to those games. I also try to avoid professional baseball games because of the drinking that goes on and unruly behavior. It seems today that the high price of a professional sports ticket entitles people to act any way that they choose. It is too bad that we have to put with that boorishness, but it seems now more and more of a fact of life at professional events. So, those are the type of crowded events I try to avoid. Maybe it is because I am older and have children, but I am finding that I just don’t enjoy it. But there is a joy, Susan, to just watching families and friends have a good time. That is what it is all about. Great word, festivity. Thanks, Susan. Take care.” – “Warrior” Joe