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."

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  • 9 months ago

    Festivals in the community. They don't happen at daybreak- merchants put out their wares (open their shops) at daybreak. In England, communal festivities are called "fetes". In the US, they're usually "fairs". 

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