“Ban on festive gatherings”, these words will remain associated with the year we have just lived for a long time. With the approach of summer and with the reopening of nightclubs, the party resumes its rights, and the concern about a possible epidemic rebound, if it slows down the enthusiasm of some, also stirs the desire to get lost in the crowd, while there is still time.
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“It’s a bit like the return of the repressed, analyzes the historian of sensitivities, Hervé Mazurel. We want to rediscover all that has been hindered, emotional communion, effervescence and collective fusion, games of seduction also… To find oneself, to please, to laugh, it is first of all these energies which resurface with the lifting of prohibitions which had given rise to more political resistance. “ The need for celebration then invaded the smallest gap, when it did not crystallize the margins, during “rave parties” or secret evenings.
At the central station in Brussels or at the Gare de l’Est in Paris, dances were improvised; supporters jumped at the same momentum on the Grand-Place in Lille to celebrate their title of champion of France. But for most French people, generally respectful of sanitary rules, the party remained above all the memory of a lost lightness. Especially since weddings, and even funerals, no longer allowed these extended meetings, which mark the stages of life.
Regulation and transgression
“In all civilizations, festivals connect the natural cycle, that of the seasons, to the social and individual cycle, andthus allow to adapt to the passage of time, explains anthropologist Laurent Fournier. In recent months, on the contrary, we have found ourselves sent back to ourselves, facing our own finitude.. “
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Power, for its part, has been deprived of its ancestral role of “party giver,” he continues. “political use of the festival that we find in the Monarchy in contemporary times, with the institution of the music festivalfor example “. On June 21, moreover, restrictions barely lifted, the Elysee organized an electro concert in the courtyard of the Palace.
Religious or layman, Laurent Fournier still recalls, the feast often alternates between a solemn moment, very standardized, and another more informal, more conducive to surprises. Such as the ball, which follows mass in the old village festivals, as well as the military parade and the national commemoration on July 14. And it sometimes happens that instead of granting the times, the party overplay the disagreement. Emotional valve, occasional disorder necessary to maintain general order, it sometimes sows revolt.
This is its other face, that of the carnivals and hustle and bustle of the Middle Ages, where young men jostled the elders. In Romans in the Drôme, in February 1580, the great historian Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie thus told how the inhabitants, during the carnival time, challenged each other between craftsmen and notables and ended up killing each other.
Simple stun or essential ritual of integration
“The party is this possibility of canceling everyday life, of overturning standards, of giving new life”, confirms the philosopher Gilles Lipovestky who no longer finds, within our societies, this transgressive aspect, swept away according to him by the force of consumerism and individualization. “Even during a collective party, everyone now builds their own journey, he regrets. There are only very occasional gatherings, like after a victory for France in football, which creates fusion. More than transgression, we are now looking for an atmosphere, a moment of our own, a small private party in short.. “
Still, the party, even today, is much more than a simple individual stunning. The “Devastation” of youth, after a year and a half of imprisonment, is proof of this, reacts historian Olivier Christin. “Of course, the party is forgetting oneself, but it is also a great tool for integration into adult and love life., he emphasizes. We must be delighted with the diversity of the festivals which each integrate a public into society, rejoice in this free occupation of public space. Because it is not atomized that society will be able to get better.“