At first glance politics and folk culture are two different spheres of human culture. However, if we make a deeper analysis several intersections emerge. Especially feasts and the ritual year can express political, cultural, religious or ideological contents with individual and communal variants, thus often uses symbolic forms. Both the system and the content of feasts change time to time manipulated by political ideologies.  Feasts as extraordinary time offer possibility to the connection of high- and low tradition, the accommodation of the elements of folklore and/or popular culture and to their association with local- or high politics. Therefore politics and political regimes always want to control the world of feasts, have a special feast-policy and may have different attitudes toward feast. The concept of folk culture played diverse role in the historical development of national/patriotic, religious/church, and regionalist movements as well as in processes of community-, nation- and region-building conducted by the society/state.

During the last decades the intersection between politics and folk culture highly intensified creating strong emphasis on the political aspects of the appropriation of the elements of folklore, stressing its contemporary uses by cultural activists and policy makers, and by national, regional and ethnic movements. All these aspects and transformations can be best analysed on the basis of rituals, the changes in the structure, function, and symbolic meaning of folk-/political and newly invented rituals.

Our conference focuses on the following subthemes:

  • changing structure of feasts and national holidays in the run of the ritual year,
  • symbolic contents of feasts,
  • local feast and the politics of local feasts,
  • politics of rituals, symbolism of political rituals,
  • political content of popular rituals,
  • presence and use of folk culture in political rituals,
  • interferences between church, national, local, communal, family feasts,
  • politics and researchers,
  • politically correct and incorrect rituals,
  • calendric times and celebrations,
  • any other topic concerning the ritual year.


Conference papers accepted for publication by peer review will appear in The Ritual Year 9. Politics, Feasts  and Festivals.  

Local organizers

The conference is organized by the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology of the University of Szeged together with the Bálint Sándor Institute for the Study of Religion and the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF). Venue: University of Szeged and Gál Ferenc College of Szeged.


The conference fee is 60 €, including conference materials, reception, coffee, brunch, excursion. Participants are responsible for travel and accommodation; there is no funding for expenses available.


Submit an abstract of your paper of maximum 300 words, together with your name, position, and institutional affiliation to Dr. István Povedák and Dr. Nan McEntire by October 15, 2012.

The decision as to whether or not a paper has been accepted will be communicated by November 30, 2012.