Festivals DBQ AP Euro

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Throughout history, places around the world have traditionally participated in a cycle of ritualized events and festivals. Historically, European life consisted of festivals like Carnival and Mardi Gras, along with common, daily rituals like charivari, or riding the stang. Some festivals kept people happy and allowed them to unwind while others provided order and punishment. Different religious beliefs resulted in different opinions on certain festivals and rituals. Additionally, rituals and festivals helped people to temporarily escape social identities and to shame members of society into following both explicit and implicit laws. Although from the 15th century to the 19th century these festivals and rituals could have been seen as a negative aspect of traditional European life, they were also positive and served a specific purpose during that time period.
Many festivals, such as Shrove Tuesday and Carnival represented times of extreme excess that served as an outlet for behaviors that were usually considered unacceptable by the Church and the dictates of polite society. The festivals that Europeans took part in allowed them to unwind and take a break from work and stress. A 17th century French traveler, R. Lassels, describes that, “all this festival activity [has allowed Italians to] give a little vent to their spirits.” (Doc. 5) He is commenting on the happiness and joy that the Italian Carnival brought to the Italians as it was a break from the serious aspects of the rest of the year. As a French traveler, Lassels was probably writing more objectively being that he wasn’t attached to the customs he was writing about. He explains how these customs were able to keep people happy. Carnival, beginning in January, ended with the celebration of Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday. It was the 40-day period of fasting and penance before Easter. It was considered the most elaborate festival. An early 17th century English writer, John Taylor

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