A lot of festivals make use of wholesale satin ribbon. These are some of the biggest.
Whether you celebrate in Venice, New Orleans or Rio de Janeiro, Carnevale is and has been a huge party for hundreds of years. This festival was originally a harvest celebration that began at Advent, usually in November, to celebrate the coming of Christ. Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, if you’re in the U.S., is the last day of the Advent season, before Lent begins. Thus, that special Tuesday has been the day for confessing, which is what the term ‘shrove’ means, and for eating fatty foods before the beginning of the fasting season.
Carnival in Venice dates back to 1268, with its practice of wearing masks an inversion of traditional Venetian law. Although when Venice came under Austrian control the practice of Carnevale and mask-wearing was outlawed, it wasn’t until the late 20th century that this practice came back into fashion.
In Brazil, especially in Rio de Janeiro, Carnevale is referred to as the “Greatest Show on Earth.” Samba schools dance the streets, festooned in satin ribbons, and create floats which compete against each other in annual frenzy. The weeklong festival means that most businesses are closed while crowds take to the streets.
Mardi Gras in New Orleans has spread throughout the Mississippi Valley, all the way to St. Louis, as well as to Orlando and San Diego. But in New Orleans the festivities begin weeks in advance, with the five days leading up to the festival the biggest parade days. Those who ride floats called krewes toss beads, wooden coins, plastic cups and other trinkets to the masses. Young women sometimes “flash” to receive more beads, but this is grounds for a ticket, in order to maintain a family-friendly vibe. Since the ’70s parades have originated in Mid-town or Uptown and do not enter Bourbon Street or the French Quarter because the streets are so narrow.
Running of the Bulls
During the medieval era, festivals were held during summer when the weather was good. When cattle merchants came to town, bull fighting eventually became part of the festivities. At the same time, the feast day of St. Fermin, the patron saint of Navarre, the region where this fair is held, was moved to coincide with the festival at the beginning of summer for better weather. In addition to the running, there are fireworks, big heads constructed for a parade, and traditional Basque sports such as hay bale lifting, wood cutting and Jai alai.
The running itself was popularized in the English world thanks to Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. It begins with the lighting of rockets to notify the runners that the bulls have left their pens. Then bullherders, clad in green with sticks, guide the bulls to the arena where they will meet their end. The bullfighters usually wear red satin ribbons and fancy dress for the afternoon slaughter.
Gay Pride Parade
Ever since 1970, when the first gay pride festival in Golden Gate Park took place, San Francisco has been the center of assembly for the LGBT community. The rainbow flag associated with gay pride was created for the 1978 festival by Gilbert Baker. Since then the pride parade has grown to over 1.5 million people each year. Although the Sao Paolo pride parade is bigger, the San Francisco “Gay-in” in 1970 is considered the forerunner or the modern pride parade, held on the 28th of 29th of June to commemorate the Stonewall Inn riots in 1969.
Ever since 1986, thousands of people have met in the desert of Nevada to partake in a radical experiment in art, de-commodification, and self-expression. Every year at the end of August, people from around the country build a makeshift town, host classes, and create a barter society. Due to the success of this festival, prices for entry have risen, and in recent years, costumes have become more important, as have streamers and satin ribbons, which fly from makeshift dwellings, eradicated by the end of the week.
Dia de los Muertos
Halloween in Mexico is a bank holiday, called the Day of the Dead. This tradition goes back to the Aztecs, who took an entire month to celebrate their dead loved ones. The three day festival begins on October 31, when children make altars of marigolds, yellow satin ribbons, and photos of dead children to invite them back to earth. On November 1st everyone commemorates adult spirits, and the 2nd is when families visit the graves of their loved ones. Today this holiday has spread to other Latin American countries, and even Spain partakes.
One of the largest festivals in the world, with over 6 million people, takes place in Munich every late September. Ever since 1994, the holiday lasts through German Unity Day, October 3rd for a period of more than two and a half weeks. During this time, special attractions such as carnival rides, sidestalls, and a plethora of Bavarian specialites, such as Weisswurst, Blaukraut, and Knodel are available.
Millions of liters of beer are consumed during this festival, which traces its roots back to the marriage of King Ludwig I and Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen in the meadow where the event is still held today. Although the horse race is no longer held, the festivities are still widely German, with just a quarter of attendees foreigners.
These festivals celebrate a variety of different aspects of human life: marriage, death, freedom, the harvest, the beginning of summer and its end. Just goes to show that in every celebration, satin ribbons are appropriate and can be used for an added flourish.