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festival Line breaks: fes¦ti|val
Pronunciation: /ˈfɛstɪv(ə)l/

Definition of festival in English:


1A day or period of celebration, typically for religious reasons: traditional Jewish festivals
More example sentences
  • We do celebrate more religious festivals than most schools, but the children enjoy it.
  • Here in Doi Tung, these tribal villagers continue to celebrate their ancient festivals and religious rituals.
  • When my sister taught at a junior school they celebrated all the religious festivals.
fete, fair, gala day, gala, carnival, fiesta, jamboree, pageant;
arts festival, festival of music and drama, musical festival, festival of music, science festival;
Welsh eisteddfod
anniversary, commemoration, day of observance;
rite, ritual, ceremony
2An organized series of concerts, plays, or films, typically one held annually in the same place: a major international festival of song
More example sentences
  • The films were hand picked by organisers who travelled and networked with major international film festivals.
  • Of course, the presence of two major international jazz festivals also contributes to the country's jazzy well-being.
  • It's great for films, festivals, concerts, and of course the opportunity to study at the university.


Middle English (as an adjective): via Old French from medieval Latin festivalis, from Latin festivus, from festum, (plural) festa 'feast'.

  • feast from Middle English:

    People have been celebrating special occasions with a feast since the Middle Ages, and appropriately the word goes back to Latin festus meaning ‘joyous’. Festival (Middle English) derives from the closely related Latin word festivus. A festoon (mid 17th century) comes from the same root, being at first a festival ornament. In the Christian Church the date of some festivals like Easter, known as movable feasts, varies from year to year. A skeleton at the feast is someone or something who casts gloom on what should be a happy occasion. This goes back to a story told in the 5th century bc by the Greek historian Herodotus. In ancient Egypt a painted carving of a body in a coffin was carried round the room at parties, and shown to guests with the warning that this was how they would be one day.

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