WHERE IS THE FESTIVAL?
Regular life, full of precautions and good sense, occupied by work every day, requires a break. But these breaks cannot be reduced to single moments that serve individuals as a time to rest from the weariness of work during summer vacations or on weekends.
The maintenance of order also requires times in which individuals are allowed to break loose, to do what is usually prohibited to them, to vent their tensions collectively, provided that it is in a circumscribed ritual. The audacities that have been permitted in every epoch in festivals - like the Carnival with its costumes and its insolence - bear witness to this social necessity and perpetuate it. Still today, though the impoverished celebrations scarcely separated from the monotony of daily life, one distinguishes in them some minimal vestige of past outbursts.
In Ivrea, Italy, the annual carnival is celebrated with the battle of the oranges that lasts three days and involves the participation of thousands of people. Sometimes, by the end of the first day, there are hundreds of wounded. It is easy to understand how a feast of this sort, transgressing the norms that regulate daily existence with violence, might appear like a different world to those who take part in it, a time of intense emotion and the transformation of one's being.
But the manifestation of this exuberance, of this relative feeling of freedom, is allowed only on the condition that it is limited and circumscribed in time and space. In short, the festival becomes the parody of revolt - like the carnival in Ivrea that was instituted in the medieval era following a revolt, in order to give the people a way to give vent to their powerlessness,, but without putting Power in danger.
But at bottom, how many of us do not live on the memory of one festival and in the hope of another?