Festivals have provided an important arena for debates in anthropology and the social sciences. A focus of these debates has been the characterisation of the links between festivals, social groups and collective identities. While revisiting these debates, this paper argues for a performative view of festivals as instances of group making, remaking and unmaking. Based on Holy Ghost festas in the Azores and among Azorean migrants in North America it shows how festivals can be viewed as contentious sites for the production of new transnational and ethnic socialities and identities. The paper highlights the importance of this view of festivals for a critical assessment of current efforts aimed at the ‘heritagisation’ of festive cultures.
- Holy Ghost