a day or time of religious or other celebration, marked by feasting, ceremonies, or other observances: the festival of Christmas; a Roman festival.
a periodic commemoration, anniversary, or celebration: an annual strawberry festival.
a period or program of festive activities, cultural events, or entertainment: a music festival.
gaiety; revelry; merrymaking.
festal: a festival atmosphere of unrestrained joy.

1300–50; Middle English < Medieval Latin fēstivālis (diēs) holy (day). See festive, -al1

prefestival, noun
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
festival (ˈfɛstɪvəl)
1.  a day or period set aside for celebration or feasting, esp one of religious significance
2.  any occasion for celebration, esp one which commemorates an anniversary or other significant event
3.  an organized series of special events and performances, usually in one place: a festival of drama
4.  archaic a time of revelry; merrymaking
5.  (modifier) relating to or characteristic of a festival
[C14: from Church Latin fēstivālis of a feast, from Latin festīvusfestive]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1580s (n.); it was an adj. in 14c.; from M.L. festivalis "of a church holiday" (see festivity).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences for festivals
Cultural uses kite festivals are a popular form of entertainment throughout
  the world.
The city hosts various renowned festivals throughout the year.
One similarity is that many areas have harvest festivals with bonfires.
They participated in all formal village festivals, ceremonies, marriages, and
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