Essay on Carnival

1742 Words Mar 13th, 2012 7 Pages
Trinidad Carnival

Carnival is a festival of colours which is transformed into costumes, calypso, steel band music, dance and different foods and Caribbean art which attracts many people from the different countries. The carnival season is usually during the two weeks before the traditional Christian fasting of Lent. This is celebrated to mark an overturning of daily life.The roots of carnival both lay in Africa and France(Liverpool:57).

Trinidad carnival is a very significant festival in the island of Trinidad and Tobago. This festival has evolved from an elegant, exclusive affair to an all inclusive national festival of the country. Therefore in order to understand the meaning of this festival one must look at the acculturation,
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Carnival was introduced to Trinidad in around 1785 as the French settlers began to arrive, they called it Carnevale.This tradition caught on quickly. Carnival of the French was held during the Lenten season starting on Boxing day to Ash Wednesday was marked by great merrymaking and feasting by both the French and the English.Carnival, as the end of the social season was also marked at the apex society by elaborate balls to which was added the custom of masking and disguising. They wore masks to hide their faces from their friends and play sexual “games” on their wives, husbands and mistresses, the enslaved Africans were not allowed at their sex games or their dinners but in the masquerade imitated their tattered clothing thus making fun of them (Liverpool:127). But the major part of carnival activities consisted of house to house visiting and street promenading, on foot or in carriages, witticisms, playing of music and dancing and a variety of frolics and practical jokes (Pearse, 1956:15). The French serenaded their fellow men with flute, violin and African drum. Already African drums and Spanish instruments had been adopted by the Frenchmen in the music making (Liverpool: 127). Until 1838 when the

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