The Ottawa Tulip Festival refers to an event based on international integration that it represents the occasion in the mid-1940s where Princes Juliana of Netherlands presented thousands of tulip bulbs to the people of Canada as a gift. As well, it is an event that signifies the return of the spring whereby millions of tulips in different varieties are seen blooming across the park. The 2016 Festival took place at Lansdowne Park, Ottawa in May. As reported by CBC News, the festive began on May 12th to 23rd, and it was the 71st edition of the Ottawa Tulip Festival (CBC News, 2016). The festival attracted over 60,000 people from different regions across the globe and the tulips also signify global harmony and freedom. There is a need to explore this event and examine the topic from a sociological perspective by use of three sociological theories that include structural functions, social conflict, and symbolic interaction.
In the mid-1940s, Princes Juliana set a thousand tulip bulbs to Ottawa to show appreciation to Princess Juliana of Canada for sheltering her and daughters (Princess Beatrix and Princess Irene) when Nazi occupied Netherlands during the World War II (The Tulip Legacy Story, 2016). The first Tulip Festival in Ottawa occurred in 1953, and for decades, the festival involves music concerts, celebrations, and people get the opportunity to see a thousand tulips of Canada. During the 2016 event, the tulips were the central aspect of attraction, but close up at darkness. After that, people get the opportunity to visit different restaurants and watch the fireworks displays.
From a sociological perspective, events are analyzed at various levels and points of view, and different theories exist to explain social occurrences. Sociology focuses on the structure of the society and how every individual contributes to its well-being (Macionis, 2011). The three primary sociological theories include structural functions, social conflict, and symbolic interaction. The symbolic interaction theory assesses the society by focusing on the significance imposed on objects, events, and code of conduct. With regards to this theory, people behave according to the meaning they have attached to these elements. In the case of the Ottawa Tulip Festival, people view the tulips are precious because of the meaning they have attached to them. When the term tulip festival is mentioned, people have performed assumptions about the tulip and the events (The Tulip Legacy Story, 2016). Thus, the behavior of the people in with regards to the function depends on the assumptions they have attached to it. The society is a network of communication, which is facilitated through interaction. It is created by the interaction and communication of people, which is promoted by social events.
The structural functionalism theory supports the ideology that the society comprises of distinct elements that are connected, and all serve different roles to facilitate progress (Macionis, 2011). With regards to this theory, the society is compared to the body and its various parts that work together to promote survival. The elements of the society depend on one another and if one part malfunctions, the entire society if likely to experience problems. In Ottawa Tulip Festival 2016, different social institutions contributed to the success of the event. The theory lays emphasis on the interconnection in the society. The different elements of the society include the media, families, governments, economy, and religions. The theory explains that these items exist because they play a vital role in the wellbeing of the society and that no elements have conflicting interests. It means that the values of different people within the same society are similar; thus, all volunteer to conform to social customs. Culture gives room for the emergence of various patterns in the society and allows distinct roles to emerge. It provides the foundation for achieving both social and individual goals. It explains why even on a global level, various aspects of the society work jointly to achieve social advancement. For instance, Canadian Tulip Festival attracts over 60,000 visitors from all over the globe (The Tulip Legacy Story, 2016). The event has strengthened social ties and enhanced peaceful coexistence among different people. It facilitates to bring together all the elements of the society.
The social conflict theory was introduced by Karl Marx and it is different from the symbolic approach. As compared to the two previous models that evaluate the positive aspects of the society that promote its steadiness, the conflict perspective approach assesses the negative dimensions of the society. The symbolic and the functionalist support conservatism, while the social conflict helps social change (Macionis, 2011). According to this theory, the community comprises of people who compete for the scarce resources. In the current times, a range of social events has lost aspects of significance due to conflict of interest from different parties. Nevertheless, the management team at Ottawa Tulip Festival encourages people to avoid actions that could present conflicts of interest. The interaction of different to classes in such an event can lead to conflicts as some people discover they are unprivileged as compared to others. Just like many other activities, the Tulip Festival was introduced by the noble class to enhance social order and compliance to the rest of the population. Similarly to other social events, the Tulip Festival has transformed, and only the wealthy can afford lavish lifestyles in the event. It creates a clear line between the poor and the rich. Different researchers have reported that celebrations and events have become extremely expensive in the modern times.
In summary, this paper has explored the Ottawa Tulip Festival that occurred in May 2016 in Lansdowne Park, Ottawa. The event has significant cultural and historical meaning. It represents the historical occasion where Princes Juliana showed her gratitude to the princess of Canada when the Nazi invaded Netherlands during World War II. Assessment of the topic from a sociological perspective reveals that the event has social significance with regards to three sociological theories structural functions, social conflict, and symbolic interaction. The Ottawa Tulip Festival fulfills the symbolic interaction theory in that; people have particular meanings that they attach to events, objects, and behavior. The event and the tulips have both social and historical significance to the Canadian population. The topic fits in the structural functionalism theory in that; different elements of the society are interconnected and work for a common goal. This event serves to bring together various elements of the society such as families, media, and economics. Nevertheless, social conflict theory explains the culture from a different perspective. The theory holds people in the community are in constant competition which presents various conflicts of interests. Concerning the topic at hand, this event may facilitate the discovery of how some people are socially underprivileged with regards to the various social classes. Nevertheless, the primary focus of the festival is to promote social cohesion and international harmony.
CBC News (2016). Ottawa tulips in bloom in time for festival. Retrieved November 25, 2016, from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/ottawa-tulip-pictures-2016-1.3570999Macionis, J. J. (2011). Society: the basics. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall.
The Tulip Legacy Story - Canadian Tulip Festival. (2016). Retrieved November 25, 2016, from http://tulipfestival.ca/about/tulip-legacy/
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