Fête

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The Village Fête, by Rubens (c. 1635)

A fête, or fete, is an elaborate festival, party or celebration.[1] In Britain, fêtes are traditional public festivals, held outdoors and organised to raise funds for a charity. They typically include entertainment and the sale of goods and refreshments.[2]

Village fêtes[edit]

An English village fête

Village fêtes are common in Britain. These are usually outdoor shows held on village greens or recreation grounds with a variety of activities. They are organised by an ad hoc committee of volunteers from organisations like religious groups or residents' associations. Fêtes can also be seen in former British colonies. In Australia, fêtes are often held yearly by schools and sometimes churches to raise funds.

An award-winning Victoria sponge cake from Ruskin Park fête in London

Attractions seen at village fêtes include tombolas, raffles, coconut shies, bat a rat stalls, white elephant stalls, cakes, and home produce such as jams and pickles. Competitive baking, such as making Victoria sponge cake, is part of the classic British fête.[3] Filmed in bunting-draped marquees in scenic gardens, The Great British Bake Off television series is inspired by the quintessential English village fête.[4] Entertainment at fêtes may include Morris dancing, tug of war, fancy dress, and pet shows. The fête itself is a variation of a fair.

Other types[edit]

In Trinidad and Tobago and other English-speaking Caribbean territories, fêtes are huge parties held during the Carnival season.

Harvard University's Eliot House uses the term to refer to its spring formal. Bloomington, Minnesota's, Independence Day celebration (traditionally held on the 3rd of July) has been known as Summer Fete since 1978.

Etymology[edit]

The English word fête, pronounced /ˈft/ (FAYT) or /ˈfɛt/ (FET), is borrowed from the Mediaeval Latin "festus" via the French fête, meaning "holiday" or "party".[5] The 12th-century Middle English root "festa" is shared with feast, festive, festal and festival, festoon, the Spanish "fiesta" or Portuguese “festa” and the proper name Festus.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Phillips Mark (2007), Vocabulary Dictionary and Workbook: 2,856 Words You Must Know, A. J. Cornell Publications, p. 179, ISBN 978-0-9727439-4-5
  2. ^ "Fete". Oxford Living Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. 
  3. ^ "The great Victoria sandwich". The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 February 2018
  4. ^ "The Great British Bake Off: it's like a village fete in your sitting room". The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 February 2018
  5. ^ The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) ISBN 0-19-861263-X - p.677 "fête /feɪt/ noun Brit. a public function, typically held outdoors and organised to raise funds for charity...".