Humans love to party. Every nation on Earth has annual festivals and many of these are commemorated on coins. Among celebrations depicted, best known to world coin collectors are the independence days and religious holidays of other nations, but coins also depict celebrations about trade, harvests, wine-making, drama, song, crafts, and more.
The 1999 ringed-bimetallic Swiss 5-franc commemorative coin tells the story of a regional event, the Winegrowers Festival. This has been held in Vevey, Switzerland, since 1797 but is only celebrated once per generation, every 20 to 25 years. The region’s wine-making culture is feted for two weeks using a giant arena that seats 16,000 people, built anew for each festival.
The Wine Festival coin has a close-up of grapes on one side while the ring on the other side contains a whimsical circular procession of creatures found in the vineyards: honeybee, lizard, spider, snake, butterfly, mouse, and squirrel.
Poland issued a 2-zloty commemorative coin in 2004 to honor the nation’s annual grain harvest celebration or Dozynki.
It has only been an official celebration in Poland since 1929. However, Dozynki has been going on each autumn for 1,000 years. Highlights include the consumption of traditional dishes and beer, and lots of singing and dancing. Happily for those who cannot travel to Europe this fall, Polish communities all over North America have their own Dozynki parties.
An Egyptian 10-piastre coin from 1978 commemorates an important business event held annually in Cairo that is also a celebration of Egyptian culture.
The Cairo International Fair has been part of Egypt for close to half a century, although it was shortened in 2011 from 10 to four days due to the Arab Spring and the Egyptian Revolution. The Cairo International Fair promotes crafts, trade, and services with other nations and within Egypt. The last one attracted more than 1 million visitors and 800 exhibitors.
Many people are familiar with the Chinese zodiac or lunar year calendar featuring the 12 repeating animals. 2015 is the Year of the Goat.
There is also a celebration called the Festival of the Lantern that occurs during the Chinese New Year, usually in February or March. It has a history almost 2,000 years old. The Year of the Goat and the Lantern Festival were both honored on a 2015 Chinese ringed-bimetallic 10-yuan coin.
The lantern shown on this ringed-bimetallic coin, hanging above the goat, is a typical form. These lucky red paper lanterns symbolize a fresh start. In Hong Kong, this festival has evolved into their equivalent of Valentine’s Day.