Definition of festival in English:



  • 1A day or period of celebration, typically for religious reasons.

    ‘traditional Jewish festivals’
    • ‘Because this time of year is not only a time of religious festivals.’
    • ‘When my sister taught at a junior school they celebrated all the religious festivals.’
    • ‘He charged that in Tripura Hindu religious festivals were not allowed to be celebrated by Christians.’
    • ‘At a season of religious festivals, the rich peoples of the world indulge in a benign competition to do good.’
    • ‘We do celebrate more religious festivals than most schools, but the children enjoy it.’
    • ‘These shows take place at fairs, religious festivals, weddings, funerals, and sporting events.’
    • ‘Besides the religious connotation of the festival, it is seen as a time for revelry.’
    • ‘It is in these places that festivals are celebrated with religious music and masked dances.’
    • ‘Here in Doi Tung, these tribal villagers continue to celebrate their ancient festivals and religious rituals.’
    • ‘One example of this is the issue of prayers and celebration of non-Christian religious festivals in schools.’
    • ‘Could there be some innocent reason to do with tax or religious festivals that would result in contributions tending to bunch at that time?’
    • ‘There was a festival atmosphere in UK bookshops as children eagerly flocked to snap up the latest tale.’
    • ‘Falafel are made for religious festivals, especially among Christian communities during Lent when meat is forbidden.’
    • ‘In India celebration of fairs and festivals has become like a ritual.’
    • ‘Passover is one of the most important religious festivals in the Jewish calendar.’
    • ‘These are usually performed at religious fairs and festivals or at harvest time.’
    • ‘Villagers may derive their greatest pleasure from fairs and religious festivals.’
    • ‘This epic of Dravidian India is of the type that is told in homes rather than at religious festivals.’
    • ‘Even in the contemporary church, this is one of the least religious of the festivals.’
    • ‘Among Indo-Fijians, feasting is associated with marriages and religious festivals.’
    fete, fair, gala day, gala, carnival, fiesta, jamboree, pageant
    holy day, feast day, saint's day, holiday
    View synonyms
  • 2An organized series of concerts, plays, or films, typically one held annually in the same place.

    ‘a major international festival of song’
    • ‘What is required is a concerted effort to promote such films at foreign festivals.’
    • ‘The films were hand picked by organisers who travelled and networked with major international film festivals.’
    • ‘Some cineastes still curse Hoop Dreams for turning film festivals into video festivals.’
    • ‘They used to take me up to Auckland for Philharmonia concerts and film festivals.’
    • ‘It also organises major music festivals throughout the world such as the Fleadh and Leeds music festival.’
    • ‘Sponsorships are big, including film festivals, concert tours and music showcases.’
    • ‘Such was the impact that we decided to roll out a series of organic festivals across the country to promote eco-friendly living.’
    • ‘It has now been seen at 15 international festivals, and had its British premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival.’
    • ‘It's great for films, festivals, concerts, and of course the opportunity to study at the university.’
    • ‘Most of the films have been shown in film festivals across the globe and have been internationally acclaimed.’
    • ‘Hilton Tokyo has been busier than usual with a series of colorful and exciting international cultural festivals.’
    • ‘He's played a number of major jazz festivals and recently recorded his first album.’
    • ‘Until one makes time to watch two film festivals which ran almost back to back mid- and late October into this first week of November.’
    • ‘His music for Indian art films won awards in international film festivals like Venice and Cannes in the 1950s.’
    • ‘Of course, the presence of two major international jazz festivals also contributes to the country's jazzy well-being.’
    • ‘Also, he is trying to send the movie to several film festivals.’
    • ‘This was the latest in a series of film festivals, displaying the work of African moviemakers.’
    • ‘The world situation has had deleterious effects on a couple of international film festivals this week.’
    • ‘She popularised women's films through various festivals around the world and learned more about them and their way of work.’
    • ‘Mr. Kiran and Ms. Satyan finished the project in nearly two months and sent the film to three short film festivals abroad.’


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