Read the full essay that my students and I wrote for the 'festivals' question below. Can you highlight the features that help this essay to get a band 9?
Most people have forgotten the meaning behind traditional or religious festivals; during festival periods, people nowadays only want to enjoy themselves. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?
Some people argue that we no longer remember the original meaning of festivals, and that most of us treat them as opportunities to have fun. While I agree that enjoyment seems to be the priority during festival times, I do not agree that people have forgotten what these festivals mean.
On the one hand, religious and traditional festivals have certainly become times for celebration. In the UK, Christmas is a good example of a festival period when people are most concerned with shopping, giving and receiving presents, decorating their homes and enjoying traditional meals with their families. Most people look forward to Christmas as a holiday period, rather than a time to practise religion. Similar behaviour can be seen during non-religious festivals, such as Bonfire Night. People associate this occasion with making fires, watching firework displays, and perhaps going to large events in local parks; in other words, enjoyment is people’s primary goal.
However, I disagree with the idea that the underlying meaning of such festivals has been forgotten. In UK primary schools, children learn in detail about the religious reasons for celebrating Christmas, Easter and a variety of festivals in other religions. For example, in late December, children sing Christmas songs which have a religious content, and they may even perform nativity plays telling the story of Jesus’ birth. Families also play a role in passing knowledge of religious festivals’ deeper significance on to the next generation. The same is true for festivals that have a historical background, such as Bonfire Night or Halloween, in the sense that people generally learn the stories behind these occasions at an early age.
In conclusion, although people mainly want to enjoy themselves during festivals, I believe that they are still aware of the reasons for these celebrations.
(296 words, band 9)