Essay Ideas: Celebrations and Family

Happy New Year to those of you who celebrate New Year on January 1st. Here is an IELTS essay question relating to festivals and celebrations.

Most traditional festivals and celebrations are losing their meaning as they become more commercial with the emphasis on buying presents and spending money on parties. Some people think that traditional festivals are a waste of time and money.

To what extent do you agree?

Always spend time thinking about the essay title and planning your answer. You should spend a minimum of 5 minutes thinking, analysing and planning before you start writing your essay. Here are some questions to help you consider the above essay.

Questions for Analysis

1. How do most people celebrate traditional festivals?

2. Do most people who spend money not recognise the meaning behind the festival?

3. Is it possible to spend lots of money on celebrations and still recognise their meaning?

4. Are people more interested in the traditional meaning of festivals or on having a good time  celebrating?

5. How important are traditional festivals in keeping a culture alive?

6. What would happen if we get rid of all traditional festivals?

7. Do you think the money spent on festivals could be better used?

Now plan how you will use your ideas to answer the question given in the IELTS essay question. After you have decided your plan, check the ideas below. Remember that there is no right or wrong in IELTS. These ideas offer one possible options for the content of body paragraphs.

Body Paragraph Content

Below is an example of body paragraph content for a partial agree essay ( a balanced view).

  • Body Paragraph A: Many traditional festivals are becoming more commercial as people use them as an opportunity to treat themselves or others to expensive luxury goods.
  • Body Paragraph B: This money could certainly be better used as it is not necessary to spend so much money to enjoy festivals and respect traditions.
  • Body Paragraph C: Regardless of the commercial aspect that is developing around many festivals, they are still vitally important in keeping traditions alive and teaching the younger generation about their own culture.

Happy 2018 🙂




  1. Rania Ahmed says

    Hi liz! Thank you so much for your valuable lessons. I just want to ask a question. What is meant by “national celebrations”? Are they only the national days that have historic backgrounds? Or do they also include other celebrations such as religious ones?

    • These questions and topic relate to the Speaking test. You are not marked on your understanding of the questions. So, this means, you can interpret the questions as you wish. Then allow the examiner to guide you if he or she wishes.

  2. tapan virmani says


    I have written a background statement and thesis statement for this essay using a balanced approach as described in one of your advanced lessons, please correct me if am wrong

    In the modern era, festivals have become a commercial, where people
    are allowed to spend lavishly on gifts and get together and as a result, losing the importance of festivals. In my opinion, celebrating festivals in this way is a waste of time and money and therefore, should only be celebrated to help poor and to keep the traditions alive

    • You have the right technique. But avoid using “in the modern era”. Your English is good enough that you should not depend on learned phrases that are used by thousands of other students. Avoid phrases.

  3. sibasis das says

    Madam if I disagree and want to give a balace view. The structure
    Bp1- Due to festivals people meet with each other and share their common thoughts.So it is a good way to become socialise with relatives and friends in todays busy world.
    Bp2- Traditional ceremonies are our cultural identity and makes us feel that we are a part of the community.
    Bp3- Presently the economic status of people is improving and due to effect of other modern cultures people are now spending on presents and decorations in a festival.I think it is a way to greet each other and to celebrate the event in a grand manner.
    Kindly suggest whether the above ideas are relevant or not.

  4. Can you tell me please why I score 5:5 in writing while getting 8 in the speaking, listening too ??

    • Hi Liz
      Thanks for your reply , yes I got your writing essays and the video , it’s phenomenal, my problem I get excited and I keep going with my ideas leaving the plan in one side and never stick to limited words number , I guess a part of my problem is more writing as a result will make more slips , I need to think simple
      Your essay is so simple and clear , my mistake is I think they are testing my knowledge , I will stick to what you say and appreciate all the helping hands , wishing you a wonderful weekend.

      • I think you’ve highlighted two very important points.
        1) If you don’t plan your WHOLE essay carefully, you will run over with ideas and your essay will become longer and longer. Your plan is about selecting the best ideas and planning two or three supporting points. When you start writing, you will know the content for almost every sentences. This allows you to focus on accuracy with English when writing. Planning is essential !!
        2) Your knowledge is not tested in speaking or writing. In your essay, you don’t get a higher score because your ideas are better or because your knowledge is stronger. You get points for being:
        – relevant
        – focused
        – developed ideas (with highly relevant supporting points)
        – on topic (not just the main topic but the issues directly addressed that are in the essay question)

  5. I am an ielts trainer and I strictly follow your tips and my students also follow your lessons. They are getting wonderful results in all modules. Thanks a lot to you Liz from all of us.

    • I’m really pleased to hear that. I know as a teacher that it’s very rewarding when your students get good results – hats off to you 🙂

  6. Happy new year ….n thank u so much for ur valuable lessons

  7. rania alam says

    In that body paragraph C :
    Can we say’ important for keeping ‘ or it will be marked wrong ?
    I find it hard to predict whish preposition i should use sometimes..

    • Sure – it’s fine to write that. In English, it is sometimes possible that more than one preposition is possible.

  8. Sharanpreet says

    Thanks mam it is very useful

  9. Dear Liz,
    As an IELTs tutor, and indeed as someone who has recommended your site to my students, I am concerned by the number of errors in your posts. It is so easy to make typographical errors and so it is important to check anything that is posted.
    As an example read through Body paragraph C!
    keep should be keeping and generator should be generation.

    • I appreciate you helping me proof read as I don’t always have time or I miss typos. However, I don’t appreciate your negativity. I consider it rude, ungrateful and unprofessional. Teachers should never speak in such a way to other teachers – NEVER. And doctors should know better than to ooze negativity over other people, particularly those who are seriously sick, housebound and in frequent pain – or didn’t you know that about me? As both a teacher and a doctor you should be ashamed of your comment and your attitude. Students learn not only subject content from a teacher but much more. I hope my students learn positive thinking as well as respect and kindness for others. My whole website is based on kindness and supportive comments. You seem to teach a condescending, patronising attitude with an unprofessional manner. Not a good role model. You don’t pay for my lessons so I suggest you and your students find another website to follow.

      • rania alam says

        We all support you liz .
        Wish i really can do something to help you through overseas more than support.

        • Thanks

          • Swapnil Pandey says

            Liz, I really appreciate the content and the ideas and your guidance. Request you to please don’t feel bad with someone comments and just think about people like me who always waiting your post to improve my knowledge so that I can make score. Always appreciate your help

            • Thanks. I appreciate your comment. Of course, I’ll carry on and keep trying to post interesting lessons 🙂

              • Happy New year mam. Mam ,it is easy to find mistake but really difficult to solve it. Some are making Mole’s mountain. Really ,you are doing great. Thanks from the core of my heart.

      • Dear are right. I always get motivation from you and your site to prepare well. Hope other people feel the same. Keep it up. I am lucky that I have a WONDERFUL teacher like you.

  10. thanks for sharing this

  11. Pooja prabhakar says

    Thanks for sharing

  12. Do you know what essays are expecting for January 2018?
    Because I am doing on 6th of January
    Kindly let me know

  13. Padma Singh says

    I think there is a typo. Younger ‘generator’ should be younger ‘generation’.

  14. Hi mam I have ielts academic test on 13/1/2018 in jalandhar,please help me for preparation writing task 2

  15. Happy new year Liz

  16. Happy new year

  17. Is it necessary to have a third body para if we are partially agreeing? Or is it OK to write two body paras if we are agreeing or disagreeing or partially agreeing?

  18. Thank you

  19. happy new year

  20. rania alam says

    Sorry i have a strange question .
    In the first paragraph you wrote ‘a opportunity’ not ‘an opportunity’ . I have seen a similar wording in a reading passage and i thought it’s a mistake.

    Is it a mistake ? I think it is but i am not sure now as you used the same proposition.

  21. Although,the cultural festivals are one of the best reason for celebrating in each year along with the friends and family,some people say that it is the waste of money and time as well.While i agree with this statement,i believe that there is another ways we could celebrate the festivals.

  22. According to your outline, do you partially agree with the statement of traditional festivals are waste of time and money?

  23. With regard to this question, it is only asking me to what extent I agree with the opinion. Can I decide to disagree?

  24. 👍👍👍

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