From time immemorial, man has gathered in groups to communicate and share the landmarks of his existence—in short, to celebrate life.
We have agreed to call the human celebration of life a ‘festival’. For a certain length of time and in a defined place, a group of individuals chooses to communicate and share a token of their existence in order to call it into question. For a few days a group of fellow men focus on what is important, pleasant or unknown. Looking up to the sky they decide to praise the Sun, the Moon, the Wind and the Rain. Looking down to the ground they celebrate the Earth, Water and Fire. Looking at themselves, in the diversity of their everyday actions they instinctively choose to celebrate those that truly make them happy.
The fact is that to exist entails an ongoing struggle. Whatever species you belong to, you must meet the expectations determined by your genes. From the very first cell, the programme demands that you interact with your surrounding space in order to grow and multiply. Thus, from the beginning of time, living implies movement, change, mutation. To try, to be mistaken and to die. To get up and try again, to get it right and then to be transformed into something else. Each success, however small, rewrites the genetic map imposed on our successors that assures survival and renews life.
There came a time when natural, random, Darwinian evolution was deemed insufficient by man, who discovered a instrument for making objects, machines that would help him advance much more swiftly than other species. He did things that allowed him to manipulate the world at whim and wonder at his own skills, to the point that he decided to tell stories sitting by the fire and to paint on the walls to make sure these things weren’t forgotten. He invited his neighbours to show them what he considered achievements that, however slight, would be emotionally recounted at gatherings filled with voices and rhythms.
Festivals have inspired us, taught us … and enabled us to copy, for beneath this collective inquiry into what we like the most in each case lies the law of natural selection. Systematically, the battles won by a few expand the borders for everyone, ensuring we’re still running faster than Darwinian evolution, if possible, and that thanks to oral tradition, literature and art, we are as sharp as needles.
This goes for all festivals: celebrate the difference of minorities, focus on the small; illuminate the narrow paths that lead to new words; bring new stories home; summon explorers, freaks, madmen; fight against the deadly monotony that leads us to extinction.
And take another look up at the sky! Very soon, this world will be too limited for us.