Thursday, 27 February 2014

Carnival

Since the beginning of the year and for some since Christmas, tourists have been flocking to Trinidad for "The Greatest Show on Earth", Carnival. Trinidad carnival is I believe the largest street party in the world. Street party being a bit of a misnomer since it is more of a take over everything party. It is also not isolated to just this coming weekend but is preceded by various fetes and events that have been taking place since the beginning of the year.

No Trinidadian (trini) will ever not know when Ash Wednesday is because it is the day after Carnival is over. Many will see Carnival as hedonistic, and in many ways it is, but it does have it roots in Catholic culture. The roots are just deeply buried these days.

Carnival or carne vale aka farewell to flesh or meat was the fete (there's that word again) that French colonials threw to get rid of all the alcohol, meat and fats before the start of Lent. The fete or big party was scandalous even in those days because they were considered hidden days where anything could happen. People wore masks and engaged in what was considered risqué in those days. The servants and the slave meanwhile mimicked and mocked their bosses by dressing and moving liked them as they enjoyed their own Carnival in the background.

Carnival is my culture. It has many beautiful faces besides the nakedness that some people love. The steelpan (invented here), calypso and soca. The kiddies carnival that takes place this weekend before the adults on Monday and Tuesday showcase the talent of our mas men. The adults have a great artistry to their costumes as well but most bands just fall back on "bikinis and beads".



J'ouvert, Dimanche Gras and two days off fron work. I'm in.