Festivities, as social institutions, are one of the best ways to get to know any given society. Festivities are universal collective celebrations —every society has its own celebrations—, displays of collective identity as well as of the conflicts and hierarchical structures of every society. In addition, they bridge the gap between the private and the public, between spirituality and physicality, between solemnity and spontaneity. Festivities define our calendars and our life cycles and are closely linked to gastronomy and religion. These and other matters canbe found in the monograph pages of Mètode’s latest issue, devoted to the scientific groundings of human festivals.
From a biological and social point of view, Mètode deals with some popular Valencian rites like the Muixeranga or Sant Antoni. The monograph, coordinated by Antonio Ariño and Pedro García, reviews the origins and evolution of festivities from an evolutionary point of view that goes back to the origins of humanity and gives a biological explanation for celebrations, which would substitute other pleasant activities, like grooming, practiced by primates to strengthen their relationships.
This monograph also deals with other topics like how festivities shape our concept of time, or the close relationship there is between festivities and gastronomy in some Italian festivities. The monograph closes with an interview with the anthropologist Francesc Mira and Antonio Ariño, a sociologist that has studied the different Valencian festivities and rites and also Vice-Chancellor for Culture, Equality and Planning at the University of Valencia.
Mètode’s issue nº 75, which co-occurs with our 20th anniversary, includes two dossiers. The first one is devoted to the mathematician and cryptographer Alan Turing, pioneer of modern computing, on the occasion of what would be his 100th birthday. The second one deals with neuroscience, its most relevant factors today, and its challenges for the future. Most of the contents in this new issue published in Spanish and Catalan will be found in the oncoming Annual Review published in English, as well as in our website.
© Mètode 2012.
«The monograph reviews the origins and evolution of festivities from an evolutionary point of view that goes back to the origins of humanity and gives a biological explanation for celebrations»