A food festival is an annual event, which makes use of food, most often local produce, as the main theme. These festivals have long been a way of commemorating a bountiful growing season and uniting communities through feasts. This tradition began in Asia, with the spread of Buddhism across India and into China. As trade routes were established between the east and west, this trade-off became even more important to local food economies, causing problems for rural populations. By commemorating the agricultural good that was lost along the way, food festivals were designed as a way of restoring order.
The first food festival to take place in Japan took place inari houses, or small shrines dedicated to rice, fish, vine leaf display and other staples. In the seventh century, this festival took place in public places called kyudo spots. In the Chinese lunar calendar, the year is divided into four seasons, which correspond to four seasons of food: yin (cold), yang (warmer), jiau (pring) and liu (rain). Food festivals celebrate the transition of one season into another. They are a time when farmers are able to bring in the new yield, allowing the community to better utilize its resources.
China is not the only country where a food festival takes place. There are numerous food festivals throughout the world, all of which commemorate different agricultural products and the way people in that country celebrate that food. The world’s largest food festival takes place every year on the first Sunday of October, when Chinese celebrate the harvest. Unlike other agricultural festivals, however, this one takes place three days long, and features live entertainment, acrobats, fireworks, and more. In United States, the fifth weekend in October is recognized as National Cornhole Month.
Across the United States, in states like Rhode Island, New Jersey and Connecticut, beach wine festivals are held at selected sites, featuring live entertainment, beach activities, demonstrations and tastings of local and regional foods. At the Cape Cod Summer Beach Wine Festival, for example, guests will get to taste a wide selection of soft drinks, wine and food along with free hot dogs and beverages. The events in the Deep South take place on weekends in June and July. They feature live music, barbecue and craft vendors, and an array of southern food and drinks.
The next b
biggest food festival takes place in Japan from early August to early September. It is called the Japanese Culinary Festival and is the second-largest food festival in Japan after the national holiday of Shichi-Go-San. The featured food is whale sushi, the most expensive fish in the country. During the festival, chefs serve up freshly caught whale sushi to visitors for an Instagram photo courtesy instagram.
Food festivals are not just about cuisines. They also include other attractions like craft and farmer markets, concerts and fireworks. This month’s edition of the Great Salt Lake City Food Festival takes place at the Cedar Beaks region. There are more than 40 food-taste and craft vendors, along with opportunities for live entertainment, family games and great deals on fireworks. You can also bring along your camera to snap photos of the spectacular scenery during this outdoor food festival.