West Indies Caribbean Carnival
Ara by Solange Govia. BLISS Carnival 2015
In the calendar of all peoples certain days have been set aside for special religious or secular observance, or as possessing a special character. Among these days, some have remained primarily religious in character, some of which were once of religious or superstitious significance, are no longer so but remain as special days. In many countries celebrations of Carnival are special days and have become the greatest popular cultural manifestation. It is a mixture of fun, party and theater, which involves art and folklore. It basically comes up as a street party but is also celebrated in closed spaces such as clubs.
Where did Carnival come from?
Hundreds of years ago followers of the Catholic religion in Italy started the tradition of holding a wild costume festival right before Lent. Because Catholics are not supposed to eat meat during Lent, they called their festival, ‘carnevale’-which means “to put away meat.” As time passed, carnivals in Italy became quite famous. The practice spread to France, Spain and Portugal. As these Catholic countries began to take control of the Americas and other parts of the world, they brought with them their tradition of celebrating Carnival.
Carnival in the Caribbean
In many parts of the world, where Catholic Europeans set up colonies and entered into slave trade, carnival took root. Today Carnival celebrations are found throughout the Caribbean. Traditions of the cultures have come together and especially African dance and music traditions transformed the early European carnival traditions in the Americas. Important to the Caribbean festival arts are the ancient African traditions of parading and moving in circles through villages in costumes and masks. These traditions were believed to bring good fortune, to heal problems and chill out angry spirits. Caribbean carnival traditions also borrow from the African culture the tradition of creating pieces of sculpture, masks and costumes. For the Caribbean people carnival became an important way to express their rich cultural traditions. It takes many months of coming up with a theme or overall concept and developing costumes for the dancers. Lots of creativity, energy and patience is put into work such as welding, painting, sewing, gluing, applying feathers, sequins and glitter. Carnival groups, entertained by music orchestras, parade and dance wearing costumes depicting a common theme.
When Carnival first began it was celebrated from December 26 until Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday). Nowadays Carnival festivities and activities are being held year-round in the Caribbean. The dates on which Carnival celebrations such as; music competitions, festivals, concerts, street ‘jump-up’s’, beauty pageants, balls, parades etc. take place may vary from country to country, from island to island. For days, sometimes weeks, the people of the Caribbean express themselves socially and artistically and sheer joy with visitors from all over the world. Everyone, including the spectators, is part of the celebrations. Carnival is the way to celebrate life!
HARTS CARNIVAL 2015
Theme for 2015: Dominion of the Sun
Origin: Trinidad & Tobago
An explosion of colour, music, revelry, and creativity, Trinidad’s Carnival has spawned similar celebrations around the world; but nothing on earth can rival the abandon, euphoria and stunning spectacle of our festival.
With its massive masquerade bands, spectacular costumes, pulsating music and unparalleled stamina for partying, Trinidad’s Carnival is often described as the greatest show on earth. It is a time for release and everyone is invited to join the party.
To learn more about Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival and find information on shows, music, activities and events, see the links below.
Trinidad & Tobago Music
Local music, primarily Soca and Calypso play a key role in Carnival Celebrations. Sample some of the rhythmic, pulsating flavours of Carnival and other types of music from Trinidad and Tobago.
Things To Do When The Party Is Over
The music has slowed. The party is over. You want to go from the brisk to the serene. What to do? Here’s our Top 5 list.
Wit, ingenuity and the ability to think quickly define extempo calypso.
National Carnival Commission
The National Carnival Commission is responsible for the development, management and coordination of Carnival events in Trinidad and Tobago.
The world governing body for steelpan, Pan Trinbago organizes steelpan shows, competitions and festivals.
Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO)
TUCO is charged with the promotion and development of calypso, one of Trinidad and Tobago’s many indigenous musical arts. The body also produces calypso shows and concerts.