Definition of festival in English:



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

    ‘traditional Jewish festivals’
    • ‘At a season of religious festivals, the rich peoples of the world indulge in a benign competition to do good.’
    • ‘It is in these places that festivals are celebrated with religious music and masked dances.’
    • ‘This epic of Dravidian India is of the type that is told in homes rather than at religious festivals.’
    • ‘There was a festival atmosphere in UK bookshops as children eagerly flocked to snap up the latest tale.’
    • ‘We do celebrate more religious festivals than most schools, but the children enjoy it.’
    • ‘He charged that in Tripura Hindu religious festivals were not allowed to be celebrated by Christians.’
    • ‘When my sister taught at a junior school they celebrated all the religious festivals.’
    • ‘In India celebration of fairs and festivals has become like a ritual.’
    • ‘One example of this is the issue of prayers and celebration of non-Christian religious festivals in schools.’
    • ‘These are usually performed at religious fairs and festivals or at harvest time.’
    • ‘Villagers may derive their greatest pleasure from fairs and religious festivals.’
    • ‘Besides the religious connotation of the festival, it is seen as a time for revelry.’
    • ‘Even in the contemporary church, this is one of the least religious of the festivals.’
    • ‘These shows take place at fairs, religious festivals, weddings, funerals, and sporting events.’
    • ‘Because this time of year is not only a time of religious festivals.’
    • ‘Among Indo-Fijians, feasting is associated with marriages and religious festivals.’
    • ‘Passover is one of the most important religious festivals in the Jewish calendar.’
    • ‘Could there be some innocent reason to do with tax or religious festivals that would result in contributions tending to bunch at that time?’
    • ‘Falafel are made for religious festivals, especially among Christian communities during Lent when meat is forbidden.’
    • ‘Here in Doi Tung, these tribal villagers continue to celebrate their ancient festivals and religious rituals.’
    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’
    • ‘The films were hand picked by organisers who travelled and networked with major international film festivals.’
    • ‘It also organises major music festivals throughout the world such as the Fleadh and Leeds music festival.’
    • ‘Most of the films have been shown in film festivals across the globe and have been internationally acclaimed.’
    • ‘This was the latest in a series of film festivals, displaying the work of African moviemakers.’
    • ‘Such was the impact that we decided to roll out a series of organic festivals across the country to promote eco-friendly living.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘What is required is a concerted effort to promote such films at foreign festivals.’
    • ‘They used to take me up to Auckland for Philharmonia concerts and film festivals.’
    • ‘Some cineastes still curse Hoop Dreams for turning film festivals into video festivals.’
    • ‘Hilton Tokyo has been busier than usual with a series of colorful and exciting international cultural festivals.’
    • ‘It has now been seen at 15 international festivals, and had its British premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival.’
    • ‘Sponsorships are big, including film festivals, concert tours and music showcases.’
    • ‘He's played a number of major jazz festivals and recently recorded his first album.’
    • ‘Also, he is trying to send the movie to several film festivals.’
    • ‘His music for Indian art films won awards in international film festivals like Venice and Cannes in the 1950s.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.