Cover photo by Phyllis Galembo
A Tijuana gang member hands a child a toy. A Cairo butcher slaughters a goat. Seemingly arbitrary rituals bring people together and, when practiced enough times by enough people, form the basis of culture. Practices like the brilliant lantern making of San Fernando craftsmen become increasingly elaborate. Productions like Carnival, faced with the challenges of scale, become ever-more complex. All the while, celebration remains a deeply personal affair—from the Nigerian couple pasting their faces on wedding favors to the pilgrim seeking salvation among 80 million at the Ganges. Celebration is a stress-reducer, a serotoninbooster, an ingredient of joy. It has a natural momentum that excites and builds. So where there’s celebration there’s opportunity—for business and charity, for exploitation and aspiration. And in all cases, creativity.