What is a party?

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The concept of sharing a good time with friends and family in celebration of a particular occasion is not foreign to us as human beings.The last two years however have meant that we have needed to reconsider what may constitute a party. What type of gathering at what time and where could realistically be allowed. Semantically could we even refer to it as aparty under the current circumstances. Fortunately, 2022 looks like it may be a far betteryear for celebrations, and whether your party is a wedding, bar mitzvah or wake it is highly likely that the champagne will flow the canapes will be served and the music will play, none the less just what constitutes a party will still be under discussion as the pandemic will have caused us all to reevaluate this concept.

When to throw a party, is a common dilemma. There are of course the obvious occasions, a wedding, a bar mitzvah, graduation etc., but in what other circumstances is a party warranted? There are the “special birthdays” 16, 18, 21 or 30 or 40 or 50 and these events may justify a dedicated function, that includes caterers’ bespoke invitations and cocktail barmen. The not so special birthdays, the ones that fall in the gaps are different, and may be more aligned to more spur of the moment celebrations, the kind of parties that require less, organization, perhaps less of a lead time and where a simple bulk SMS to a group of buddies inviting them round may suffice as an invitation.

Where the event is taking place may have some baring on whether the function constitutes being called a party. A gathering down the pub may start life as just that, but may escalate into a party depending on attendees, music, and drinks. A visit to the local go carts track or paintballing in the forest may be viewed as a party, but if we to stay true to the definition could be debatable. Virtual parties are something most of us have had to endure recently, and with respect, as the fun element associated with this ether based get-together never matches up to an in person gathering, we feel the term party may be a stretch. A party needs a venue of appropriate nature to house the entertainment which guarantees a certain level of fun. A home, a hall, a pub, somewhere the invited guests can let their hair down and abandon the stresses of daily life.

Who makes a party, which of the people in your life would you invite to a party if it was let’s say the only party you were going to have over a two-year period? The success of a party is determined by who is in attendance rather than by the party label. Who is in attendance however is impacted by the timing of the very same party, and it is for this reason that the most successful parties are often those with less planning and greater spontaneity, as they include ones nearest and dearest without the effort of formal invitation. Timing and circumstance are everything, and serve as major contributing factors to the success of any gathering. An impromptu gathering after work on work premises with work colleagues may be entertaining but does it constitute a party? Many will debate thisand compare it to a function that was the result of formal invitations, professional catering, hired in entertainment and the need for a change of wardrobe. Ultimately both could result in copious amounts of fun, but which is really a party?

Finally what we eat, and drink will have huge baring on the fun we have at any function.The bar tab is perhaps the best bell weather of the enjoyment level, and the enjoymentlevel is often what will label a gathering a party. There are those who might prefer the sophistication of a dinner party. The idea that the likeminded gather round a table, enjoy fine food and good wine whilst debating and discussing issues pertinent to the day is often apreferred route to shared company but whether this constitutes a party may well create debate in itself.

To end perhaps we should consider the definitions of party in the Oxford English dictionary. “a part, portion, side” or“ a division of a whole”- By this definition what we do, where weare and what we eat have nothing to do with whether or not we are having a party, butrather its who we are with that ultimately determines whether we are having a party or not!