A historical re-enactment is like a massive play that involves a lot of people and gives people the opportunity to spend a wonderful day with the community. The concept of re-living famous or important historical events not only keeps the memories of that event alive, but also to teach people about the events that took place at that time. The concept of historical re-enactments has always been about bringing the community together with a sense of excitement and education, all rolled into one.
Historical re-enactments are not a new thing. In fact, they have been around for centuries with the Romans being known to play out impressive battle sequences in their arenas, using gladiators and roman legionaries. A major part of the circus acts that would enthral audiences in ancient Rome, these kind of re-enactments also became a popular part of mid 19th century Britain as well as Russia, during the same period. The scale of performance, the costumes and the sequences just kept growing and today, historical re-enactments are a major part of our society.
Why Re-enact History
Now, the fact that we read about historical events in books and watch television programs on them is enough for most people. However, there are large groups of people who find historical re-enactments a fantastic hobby that does the same thing as those stories in books, but a little bit more too. After all, someone participating in an event that re-enacts past happenings will always learn more about those happenings by being involved in it.
There are amateur re-enactments that are carried out by people who just do it as a hobby. These people have special days, usually the ones that mark a historic event, where they put on those costumes and head out to a pre-defined location to act out the entire sequence of events that led to that occurrence. There are professionals who do this too, except that those performances are usually part of something a little different. For e.g. museums may carry out re-enactments on special days as part of the museum's displays. Even historical sites are known to employ these professionals to do act as guides or even demonstrate certain events that took place at a particular spot on that site.
Who are these Re-enactors?
The majority of the people who take part in historical re-enactments are amateurs who do this as a hobby. They can be of any age because even a war can be enacted by children even though children weren't really fighting in wars as such. Sometimes, really old people also become a part of it while on other occasions, the field is a mix of all kind. People with regular jobs, spend their spare time planning and rehearsing these historical re-enactments for the big day.
Re-enactors are also divided into certain categories based on their own roles or classifications. These are generally unofficial classifications but are based mostly on the kind of effort or time or money they are putting into putting that act together. The most common people you are likely to encounter are called "Farb". These are people who do the bare minimum to be a part of the act and spend very little time on everything, from the uniforms or costumes to learning their lines or even practicing the kind of behaviour people from that era have.
The origin of the term is unknown and most people just tend to add whatever fits the letters on it. Then there are those who really take this kind of re-enactment seriously. They try to look as authentic as possible, spending a lot of time to get the details on their costumes absolutely perfect. They really work hard to get the characters spot on and speak, move and behave like people from that era. They even eat the kind of food, before the performance, that would fit right into that era they are preparing to act out. They are not trying to be authentic to the point of being obsessive, mainstream re-enactors only want to make things seem right.
Then come those people who are extremely hard-core in their pursuit of excellence in that era. They are called by many names like Stitch Counters or Stitch Nazis for the kind of attention to detail that they pay. They spend a lot of time researching the acts they have to play out, the story behind the entire event, the way people lived and behaved in those times and their roles in that entire sequence. They get truly immersed into the experience of being out there and doing their thing, which can put other amateurs or hobbyists off.
When you choose to get into the world of historical re-enactments, you have the option of starting your own little group or joining an existing group. The ideal way to go about it is to look for a group that works on a period that you enjoy or know something about. You aren't going to get movie stars or "scouts" hunting out the next big thing for Hollywood, at these re-enactments, but you will get a wonderful day outside, with the family, especially if it is one of those massive gatherings that people sit around and watch with as much excitement as those performing.
Historical re-enactments are extremely common in some societies while others do not understand the need of reliving the past. It brings the community together, where it does happen, and is usually more popular in smaller towns where the community is more tight-knit. Your interest in the hobby may wary but, usually, you shouldn't have a problem finding a group that suits your tastes. So go through the listings on the Internet and spend some time searching for these groups because once you get involved, you'll never want to leave these wonderful historical re-enactments.