Why do we celebrate?
What’s the purpose of counting time?
One year ago, something happened, was it relevant?
Fifty years ago somebody was born, what’s to celebrate?
A celebration is an act of reliving an event with the intent of having the same experience again. A thing that is, by definition, impossible. We’re not the same, and the world is not the same; we cannot feel the same.
So why do we celebrate?
We celebrate to define who we are today. By remembering what happened in the past, we restate a commitment: what we have promised in the past, or the responsibility we took charge of that day. A celebration entails emotional engagement and reevaluating our identities. If we are not the same as we were, why are we renewing our commitment to that memory?
We celebrate to create unity. To bind our present with our past with the intention and the hope of keeping this relationship in the future.
We celebrate to keep sanity. To have the illusion of our identities and our cultures. Especially for public celebrations and remembrance. If everybody is doing it, we can join the group by celebrating together with them. We feel part of a tribe.
A celebration can be part of a belonging ritual. By remembering certain events and specific beliefs, we’re reinforcing our belonging to a group, a movement, or a tribe.
The recurring celebration of the critical events in our lives is part of our culture and identities. We celebrate to convince ourselves we are part of a relationship, a culture, of a group of people. Who doesn’t want to celebrate is an alien, a reject, a separatist, a loner, and is usually seen as disrespectful or undeserving by the group.
It takes courage to question your celebrative rituals.
Questioning the deep motives behind your celebration shatters your identity from the foundations. It’s a disruptive act to redefine yourself.