So today my mom was telling me how her sister in Virginia was complaining about traffic around her house being horrible all day due to a huge Civil War battle reenactment. I knew this kind of thing was popular, but I guess I never considered HOW popular or WHY it's so popular.
My immediate thought was why would anybody want to do that? Especially the civil war, what with the Confederates fighting to continue slavery... hardly our greatest moment. When I visited friends in Germany, I remember very clearly how they viewed the Holocaust and WWII - very ashamed. My parents were interested in visiting Auschwitz, and our German friends responded with puzzled looks and asked, "Why would you want to do that at all, and especially on vacation?".
But that got me thinking, do wars (let alone civil wars) elsewhere get reenacted? I've never heard of any other country doing it, although I'm far from an expert. Assuming no, then why is this so popular here? Does it have anything to do with America's fascination with firearms? Role-playing? Some macabre desire to actually fight to defend the homeland?
I'm sure a lot of people involved in reenactments are history buffs, but to me it seems like a glorification and marginalization of battle rather than serving any real educational function. Do you really learn anything you didn't already know?
Why don't we have peace reenactments? I might be interested in that.
Yes, other countries do it too (though it's certainly the most popular in the US):
What's far more popular in Europe is Roman or medieval reenactment. And the latter isn't necessarily war related
It is something to do. Most people will never become actors, it is a little like, acting in a Renaissance Fair.
They don't do it for all the reasons like slavery. It is just a hobby and some people make little trinkets to sell, so it is like a little cottage industry.
We have reenactments of famous battles right across Japan every month. Regions have their famous warlords whom they honour and reenactments of famous battles featuring those regions warlords take place regularly. There are also numerous groups that carry out reenactments of famous battles on weekends across Japan.
Some castles have battle reenactments every weekend. Visitors can also hire armour and have their photos taken, or pose with the people who take part in the reenactment battles.
It is all very educational for the children as they learn about Japan's feudal past.