Co-authored by Marita Bullock and Joan-Maree Hargreaves, and illustrated by the talented Liz Rowland, The Big Book of Festivals is everyone’s guide to fantastic festivities, crazy celebrations and holy holidays from across the globe.
From tomato-throwing parties to graveside picnics, fire-walking ceremonies, crying baby competitions and the biggest bathing festival on Earth – this book introduces you to some of the world’s most incredible cultural and religious celebrations.
Some festivals are fun and joyful, with strong ties to cultural traditions and customs. Others are more serious in their commitment to the worship of a god, spiritual being, or a religious occasion. No matter what their origin, or what their traditions are, each festival brings people together to mark big events in life and significant occasions.
This book includes some of the world’s largest festivals including Eid Ul-Fitr, Halloween, Christmas, and the Lunar New Year, as well as smaller, regional festivals such as the Festival of Giants (yes, giants!), Konaki Sumo (the Japanese crying baby festival) and Anasternaria (an incredible fire-walking ritual) in Northern Greece.
Text and illustrations work in tandem to present the information, keeping young readers at the forefront of the book’s content. At the beginning of the book there’s a prompt for readers to keep an eye out for an illustrated child (one for each festival). I particularly appreciated this feature as each illustrated child acts as a mnemonic cue for its associated festival. This not only enables children to more easily recall the festival, but also encourages children to stay actively engaged with each page.
Hargreaves is inspired by the bravery and optimism of children, and is driven to tell stories about ‘real’ life in a visually and captivating and unexpected way. Similarly, Bullock has published numerous articles on art and the visualisation of ‘difference,’ while Liz Rowland explores the interactions between people and our environment through art.
Combining Bullock, Hargreaves, and Rowland’s collective expertise and special interests, The Big Book of Festivals captures the essence of diversity, harmony, and the experience of celebrations through storytelling and illustrations.
This book is filled with colourful symbols and motifs that mark diverse traditions, customs and beliefs. I recommend it for readers aged 7+ and for anyone who wants to feast, sing, cry, and celebrate the diversity of festivals and traditions this wonderful world of ours has to offer.