Magazine article CMA - the Management Accounting Magazine

A Festive State of Mind

Magazine article CMA - the Management Accounting Magazine

A Festive State of Mind

Article excerpt

The message is clear; it's the festive season, the time of year when commercial and religious proclamations urge us to be merry, happy and of good cheer. In the words of the popular song, "'tis the season to be jolly."

Our festive tradition is long-standing. It can be traced back to Roman times. According to the Arcade Dictionary of Word Origins, festive is derived from the old Latin word festus, which meant happy, joyful or merry. (Some of you may think I've been watching too many Gun Smoke reruns, but I wouldn't kid you about something like this.)

The Romans developed the festus concept because they needed it. They really were a festive lot, and they could turn just about anything into a festive occasion. People who know about these things tell us that the Romans celebrated more than 150 festive events annually, many of which lasted for several days. Given their reputation for love of food and libation, they probably stopped at 150 days because they needed some non-festive time for recovery.

Compared to the Romans, we're amateurs. Our festive season begins in mid December and ends in early January. It only lasts about three weeks, tops.

Some cynics say this is a good thing. For them, the festive season is a time when people eat too much, drink too much, visit people they don't like (their relatives), give gifts they can't afford, and top it off by setting new year's resolutions they won't keep.

But, no matter what the cynics think, for most of us the festive season is a special time of year. Specifically: it's a time for fun - festive times are light and uplifting. They put people into a playful state of mind and lift their spirits. When people are in a playful state of mind, energy increases, time consciousness fades, and recent research suggests even immune systems perk up.

It's a time for others. Festivity is not a solitary pursuit. The whole idea of festivity has overtones of involvement with others. Festivities are to be shared with family and friends. Even total strangers will do in a pinch if the circumstances are right.

It's a time for celebration. During the festive season, people celebrate a lot. In fact, just about any occasion can become an excuse for celebration (we have a lot in common with the early Romans in this regard). …

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