The Burning Man festival is a week-long fiesta celebrated to support anti-consumerism and freedom of expression. This year the festival will begin on 26th August and will last till the 4th of September.
America’s annual jamboree in the Burning man festival crossed over a 100K mark last year and this time it is expected to get even bigger. The history of the burning man is as interesting as the festival itself. So let’s take a look and find out who and when started this tradition.
How it all Began?
It was not a very long ago when a San Francisco based artist named Larry Harvey started it all in the year 1986. It was summer solstice, Larry along with a group of friends gathered at the Baker’s beach. There they burned an 8-foot long structure of a wooden man. It was an unconventional form of public expression that spread like a wildfire. Since then, thousands of people including artists, industrialists, celebs, and all sorts of social heavyweights have joined this bandwagon making the Burning Man festival a global event.
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Larry Harvey, who started this festival was not very popular even until the early 2000s. It was only this year in the month of April, unfortunately upon his death that most people got to know about him. He was born in 1948 in San Francisco and spent most of his youth in Portland. In the late seventies, he moved to California just after his short stint with the US Army and started working there as a carpenter and landscapist along with his brother. On the summer solstice of the year 1986, he, accompanied by his brother and a friend named Jerry, went to the Baker’s beach and burnt a wooden effigy.
It was Larry’s way of celebrating the annual solar event and a means of purgation from a breakup he had recently gone through. In an interview in the year 1997, when asked about his intent behind starting this event, Larry explained how it was just a spontaneous activity for the weekend. He had no idea it would turn into something so big. Further, he added that the effigy never symbolized anything and it was only a traditional ritual to celebrate the solstice.
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The event had become an annual thing by 1990 until the authorities had to put it away the same year. But Harvey and a few local communities in San Francisco didn’t give up and continued with the festival, this time at a different location, the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. Little did they know that it would turn into such a massive mass event over the next twenty-eight years.
What Makes the Burning Man Festival So Popular?
There’s got to be something special about this festival otherwise how on Earth would a small bonfire at a beach near Frisco have turned into a global sensation. Well, it has to be one of its kind traditions and the way this festival is organized. A lot of you would think that every tradition at the Burning man may have originated the same year it had all begun, but the fact is - everything you see, enjoy, and witness, came organically over these last three decades. And here’s why The Burning man is the most unique festival in the entire world:
- Unlike other summer parties in the West, you don’t have to spend stacks of cash to enjoy the Burning Man. All you need to do is just get the #BurningMantickets. Because the only thing you can buy at the event is ice.
- It’s nothing like the comic-con where you get everything served in a dish. At the Burning Man, you may be asked by a fellow to run a camp, help to install an effigy, and stuff like that. Physical labor, that’s what we are talking about.
- Not only is it the most popular but the craziest festival. There are activities that you wouldn’t have ever heard of. A few include toilet bowling, geese pyramid, hug-deli, etc.
- One of the most fascinating things about 2018 Burning Man festival is the fact that there is no trading or selling of any kind of goods or service. There’s this tradition called gifting where you offer stuff to people in exchange of literally nothing. If you feel like drinking, go to a bar, order yourself a glass of Manhattan, and just enjoy. No money, no tips, nothing.
- No one really cares if you’re famous. Even Oprah had to buy a ticket if she wants to go to the festival! Celebrities like Zuckerberg, Paris Hilton, Diplo are regulars at the event.
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It is a great event in the entire US and if you really care for traditions, you must pay a visit.