The role of eight annuel natural celebrations
Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Allegory of Spring (detail), after 1616.
As societies develop and begin to have a structure, a need is felt to establish precise points of reference in time and in space in order to ensure a sense of community. The dance lime tree is a perfect example of one of these reference points. Its presence enables the community to gather together to mark important events. Festive times, whose origins can be cosmic, religious, political or commemorative, punctuate the calendar in a variety of ways. They ensure the transmission, from one generation to the next, of a sense of order, and can stretch back to earliest times. Their function is to maintain traditions which, in order to be perpetuated, must remain open to new developments. Celebrations bring the population together and result in a feeling of community that rises from working towards a common goal. Unlike secular activities, these celebrations, a series of festive rites of great intensity, occur in a sacred atmosphere of suspended time. All community members experience a profound sense of unity on festive days. Worries and quarrels are forgotten in favour of reconciliation, encounters and happily concluded agreements. These festive times are a far cry from commercial celebrations sponsored by brand names and in which people merely play a passive role. The participation of each and every community member replaces entertainment that is absorbed passively.