The Right to Feast and Festivals
Festive behavior is a basic characteristic of human life, as evidenced from ancient times. Humans need to use ceremony and ritual in specific places and times to mark their triumphs, joys, and sorrows. However, some categories of individuals are harmed because they cannot celebrate the most important highlights of their lives through such festive feasts: prisoners, mariners at sea, soldiers on the frontlines, workers subject to the pressures of ungenerous employers, towns occupied by oppressive invaders, and impoverished individuals who cannot afford customary celebrations, among others. When feasts and festivals are restricted, societies lose well-being, communities lose identity, and individuals lose freedom of expression.
This normative Article helps fill a gap in the legal literature, which overlooks feasts as a right based on reason, some constitutions, laws, and international human rights. This Article calls for formal recognition and robust and coherent protection of a general right to feast, in constitutional law and in the international framework of human rights. This Article provides three kinds of foundational arguments—factual, rational, and legal—explaining why feasts must be protected, and what must be protected.
Juan C. RioFrio