Holidays and New Rituals of Innocence

Gary Cross

in The Cute and the Cool

Published in print May 2004 | ISBN: 9780195156669
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199868254 | DOI:
 						Holidays and New Rituals of Innocence

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Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and birthdays are rituals invented by adults to evoke in their children the wonder of innocence. The images of the cute child were realized in these rituals, very often expressed in gift giving. Holidays and pilgrimages, once expressions of deep communal needs, became the quintessential festivals of wondrous innocence, while vacations and tourist sites increasingly were changed into children's times and places. This transformation coincided both with new attitudes toward the young and with the rise of consumerism. To make sense of these subtle and ambiguous changes, the present chapter reconsiders the traditional meanings of festival rites and why they have survived the revolutionary changes of modern capitalism.

Keywords: holidays; vacations; rituals; festivals; birthdays; cute child; gift giving; consumerism; children; wondrous innocence

Chapter.  14869 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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