A decompression party, decom or decomp is a local reunion for Burning Man participants to help ease themselves back into everyday society after the "big event". It is not uncommon for Burning Man participants to experience "post-burn blues", and decompression events can help alleviate the feelings of loneliness and separation that can occur. The events provide an opportunity to participants to share feelings, art, performances and memories. As awareness of Burning Man has spread around the world, Decompression events have evolved to welcome newcomers to Burner culture.
The decompression events can occur anywhere from September to December, and anything afterwards is typically considered a warm-up for the next Burning Man. There has been an official Decompression Party hosted by the Burning Man organization since 1999, but the various Regional networks typically prefer to host their own. The Burning Man organization has since made the term "Decompression" a registered trademark and must conform to a set of rules. The atmosphere at these parties vary, but are typically upbeat and energetic. The decompression parties are sometimes reminiscent of early Burning Man festivals due to their informality and smaller size. They are a related phenomenon to the dead dog parties common at the end of science fiction conventions.
The name comes from an analogy to diving, where decompression refers to a period of time spent by deep sea divers either in decompression chambers or at various depths on their way to the surface henceforth, gradually adjust to surface pressure in order to avoid the bends.
To officially call one's event a "Decompression", the event must:
1. have specific permission to use that term and produce the event from Burning Man
2. involve the local Burning Man regional contact; and
3. must be properly permitted, insured, and follow all event guidelines and Burning Man principles.
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