As host communities seek to enhance and diversify their attractions base through the creation and development of festivities, there is a need for a conceptual underpinning to the nature and character of these events. This paper offers a theoretical overview of the heritage of festivities by tracing their chronological development, from the medieval to the modern day. Bakhtin's classic theorisation of festivity within traditional and medieval society, which is the precursor to their modern equivalent, is subject to critical examination. With reference to modern events, Rojek's thesis of Modernity 1 and 2 is drawn upon. In addition, key stages in the changing shape of modern festivities are identified and attention is paid to the changing face of tourism demand and the meaning of the tourism commodification process. Finally, the implications of tourism and festivity-based empirical research are noted. It is proposed that tourism processes reflect broader social changes within society and the consumption of festivities offers insights into identity creation, thereby contributing to an understanding of the arena of tourist lifestyles
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