What is meant by "communal festivities" in this context? And, why are they celebrated at daybreak?
"The railroad was not the first institution to impose regularity on society, or to draw attention to the importance of precise timekeeping. For as long as merchants have set out their wares at daybreak and communal festivities have been celebrated, people have been in rough agreement with their neighbors as to the time of day. The value of this tradition is today more apparent than ever. Were it not of time, social life would be unbearably for public acceptance of a single yardstick chaotic: the massive daily transfers of goods, services, and information would proceed in fits and starts; the very fabric of modern society would begin to unravel."
- Anonymous9 months ago
Communal festivities are whole-community festivities, even something as small as a block party today. In earlier times it would have been religious holy days, patriotic occasions, celebrations by royal decree, town or village fairs, or things like festivals in honor of harvest time or local agricultural products.
Most of these activities were not celebrated at daybreak. It was the merchants who set out their wares for sale at daybreak.
- Roger the MoleLv 79 months ago
"Communal festivities" are those which are shared by everyone. In Christian countries Easter and Christmas are examples. In the U.S. the Fourth of July is another. On the other hand, birthdays are not, since the whole community does not celebrate a person's birthday.
The text says nothing about celebrations at daybreak. Daybreak is when the merchants begin their business.