Festival Culture as a Means of Preserving Vital Differences in the Ideologically Equalised World

Original article

Alexandre Gnes,

MA (Translation Theory), An in-house translator at the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography of SB RAS, Certified member of the Society of Translators and Interpreters of British Columbia (STIBC), Keszthely, Hungary

Address: Kísérleti utca 8.½, 8360 Keszthely, Hungary

E-mail: algnes@yandex.ru

Article ID: 020310005

Published online: 25 November 2019

HANDLE: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12656/thebeacon.2.020310005

DOI: https://doi.org/10.55269/thebeacon.2.020310005


Quoting (Chicago style): Gnes, Alexandre. 2019. “Festival culture as a means of preserving vital differences in the ideologically equalised world.” Beacon J Stud Ideol Ment Dimens 2, 020310005. https://doi.org/10.55269/thebeacon.2.020310005

Language: English

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The Europeans are now exposed to ideological influence that liberates them of all forms of official collective identity: religious, ethnic, national, and recently even gender one. National cultures are gradually disappearing and giving way to sub-ethnic cultures, e.g. the Basques in Spain, Alemanni and Frisians in Germany, Székely in Hungary and Romania. The author proves that developing festival culture in modern Europe may provide an effective means of preserving vital national differences. Without recognising these national cultural differences, the European civilisation is doomed in the globalised world.

Key words: Europe, festival culture, feast, celebration, globalising world, Hungarians, Magyars, Balaton Festivals, postmodernism

Extended summary in English


Festival is currently one of the most popular forms of celebration, both urban and rural. Modern festivals revive cultural and spiritual achievements of the past. Their role does not consist in creating innovative forms of culture or knowledge. In contrast to demonstrations of achievements in immovable premises (theatrical and operatic houses, art galleries, museums etc.), festival events are more focussed on an unconventional audience, while their intent is dedicated to a specific idea. In the article, we explain why three major stimuli encourage holding festivals: 1) a desire to learn new things, 2) a wish to preserve attractive elements of the old and, finally, 3) a passion for self-identification.


Two primary forms of modern festivals are elitist musical, cinematographic etc. festivals and popular ones. We pay particular attention to studying Hungarian popular festivals as instruments of opposing ideological standardising human life in modern times. Hungary is one of very few European countries that at the state level managed to preserve its specific culture, historical traditions, mentality, in spite of its being a member of European Union. Balaton Wine Festivals are good examples of Magyar festival culture, since they introduce various aspects of Hungarian culture (music, dance, cuisine, needlework) to both foreigners and the Magyars. They allow a person a little familiar with the history of Hungary, to feel all sorts of influence on the culture of the Hungarian macro-ethnic group from both the neighbouring Slavs and Germans (costumes and dances), as well as Ugric substrate (ditty-style chants). From July to the end of September, performances of artistic groups are held in almost all cities on Balaton shore.


Festival culture is closely related to building appropriate stereotypes about neighbouring and more distant cultures.


The topic of stereotypes is inextricably linked to the topic of the conflict of civilisations, with this conflict being based upon our false and even hostile perceptions of other cultures. One of the reasons for inter-civilisational conflicts (e.g., between the Christians and Muslims, as well as the Muslims and Hindus) is the lag between 1) the development of the cultural sphere of humanity and 2) evolution of scientific and technical spheres. A modern human in his or her yearning for improving his or her material comfort, has lost the basic need for parallel satisfaction of spiritual needs. Therefore, the interest in the spiritual world of the people around, shrinks. People usually do not realise that they integrate themselves not only in globalised world, but also in ideologically equalised world.


The role of European cultural festivals in strengthening the local festival cultures and global festival approach to culture is not intended for shaking “Eurocentric” stereotypes, nor for reconciling representatives of different civilisations in one European “melting pot.” The festivals mainly initiate a dialogue of cultures. This dialogue is extremely important, because each culture carries a certain riddle and at the same time its own specific key of solving this riddle.


Festival culture is one of the most effective and useful means of understanding the importance of preserving our core cultural and civilisational differences in multibillion world. Modern festivals help representatives of different cultures to see each other in an unbiased light not distorted by ideological influence of mass media and political discourse. Festivals are instruments of seeing a culture from the outside and therefore of processing it at different mental dimensions, the process almost impossible under “normal” conditions.

© 2019 Alexandre Gnes.
Licensee The Beacon: Journal for Studying Ideologies and Mental Dimensions.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) that permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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