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Logo of jphiaJournal of Public Health in Africa
J Public Health Africa. 2013 December 3; 4(2): e15.
Published online 2013 December 11. doi:  10.4081/jphia.2013.e15
PMCID: PMC5345433

Health Hazards Linked to Festivals: An Overview

A festival or gala is an event that is ordinarily staged by a local community that centers around and celebrates a unique aspect of that community. Among many religions, a feast is a set of celebrations in honor of God.1

Each population and community has specific rejoicings and feasts.The joy and jubilation in these solemnities alleviate psychology stress and, hence, one’s health. Nevertheless, there are health hazards and risks that are associated with these festivals.

The practices in such festivals vary, as do the patterns of health problems among them. Yet, they share many features. For example, in all festivals, people enjoy traveling to see their relatives and loved ones. Thus, they are a common time for travel-related health problems.

In Table 1, I have highlighted examples of health hazards that might be encountered during festivities (Figures 1-3), and in Table 2, I list some strategies to address and decrease these risks.

Table 1.
Examples of health hazards that might be seen during festivals.
Table 2.
Examples of strategies to address and decrease health hazards that might be seen during festivals.

I have also selected bibliographies2-12 to satisfy those readers who wish to know more about this topic.


The author wishes to thank the administrators of King Faisal hospital, Dr Ahmad Faden and Dr Raef Qutob, for their support to this work.


1. Wikipedia®. Festival. Available from: Accessed: 16 August 2013.
2. [No authors listed] Beware of “holiday heart syndrome”. Overdrinking may cause your heart rhythm to go haywire. Harv Heart Lett 2012;23:6. [PubMed]
3. Nougairede A, Fossati C, Salez N, et al. Sheep-to-human transmission of Orf virus during Eid al-Adha religious practices, France. Emerg Infect Dis 2013;19:102-5. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
4. [No authors listed] Manging diabetes during the holidays. J Okla State Med Assoc 2011;104:426-7. [PubMed]
5. Lippi G, Franchini M, Favaloro EJ. Holiday thrombosis. Semin Thromb Hemost 2011;37:869-74. [PubMed]
6. Johnston NW, McIvor A, Lambert K, et al. The Christmas season as a risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations. Can Respir J 2010;17:275-81. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
7. Phillips D, Barker GE, Brewer KM. Christmas and New Year as risk factors for death. Soc Sci Med 2010;71:1463-71. [PubMed]
8. [No authors listed] Holiday travel and your health. Johns Hopkins Med Lett Health after 50, 2009;21:1-2. [PubMed]
9. Cohen R, Sexton KG, Yeatts KB. Hazard assessment of United Arab Emirates (UAE) incense smoke. Sci Total Environ 2013;458-460:176-86. [PubMed]
10. Malik A, Bhala S, Arya SK, et al. Five-year study of ocular injuries due to fireworks in India. Int Ophthalmol 2013;33:381-5. [PubMed]
11. Pallantzas A, Kourakos P, Stampolidis N, et al. Burns during Easter festivities in Greece. Ann Burns Fire Disasters 2012; 25:171-7. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
12. Al Aboud A, Kirti N. Ramesh Wedding ceremony and skin diseases; a need for vigilance! J Pak Assoc Dermatol 2011;21:109-11.

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