The exact origins of carnival are a debatable affair. From Trinidad and Tobago, Carnival spread to many other islands, where the tradition fused with the unique local cultures, such as salsa showcases on Antigua, and calypso in Dominica. In Year 4 music we have been diving into the history of Caribbean Carnival. Dawn-Maria France is a journalist and broadcaster who has written about the history of Notting Hill Carnival. Where to Go in the Caribbean for Christmas, April's best Caribbean concerts and other events, A Brief History of Carnival Celebrations in the Caribbean. Once Christmas season is officially over in the Caribbean, it's time to dig out your dancing shoes and start thinking about Carnival, the hedonistic celebration that culminates on Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, the day before Lent begins. In the Catholic calendar carne vale, farewell to flesh, is a feast celebrated on the Sunday (Dimanche Gras), Monday (Lundi Gras) and Tuesday (Mardi Gras) before Ash Wednesday and marks the beginning of Lent and fasting. The band were already popular amongst the Caribbean community, having been regulars at the indoor carnival events. It holds the potential to grow communities and engage all in its yearly joy. This was especially strong with those who were Yoruba (Nigeria), as their strong civilization and religious structure dominated. Some celebrations have even moved off the Easter calendar and are celebrated in the late spring or summer. Traditional Carnival activities were derived and brought to the Trinidad from West African religious cultures and societies. Those brought to Trinidad as slaves, also carried with them their own strong masquerade traditions, music and songs, which were used for celebration and the rituals of life, e.g. It consisted of indoor masked balls and was an exclusive, high society event. Carnival in the Caribbean has a complicated birthright, tied as it is to colonialism, religious conversion, and ultimately freedom and celebration. The popular festival was adopted by the Roman Catholic Christian church in Europe as the festival of Carne Vale. Carnival originated as a pagan festival in ancient Egypt which was subsequently celebrated by the Greeks and then the Romans. Brief History of Carnival - by Nandi Bynoe - Informative Caribbean History Audio by Nandi Pictures assorted from Google The African peoples were brought to the Caribbean as slaves from countries in West and Central Africa that stretch from Senegal to Central African Republic, and include countries that are now Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Benin, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Congo, and Central African Republic. He has written about the Caribbean for AOL Travel. They excluded the African slaves from the festival and had lavish masquerade balls. It would be the Kalenda stick fighters who would later physically defend the Carnival. There is a rich history, culture, language and a lot of hard work and struggle. The event has a fascinating history and melds together African, Caribbean, South American and European culture and tradition – the convergence of these cultures … Guadeloupe Carnival is a crazy season of celebrating that is filled with music, dance, costumes , decorations, food, drink, parades , parties and sharing beignets a … In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, there is Vincy Mas, a carnival initially held in the days before Lent but now a summer celebration. The event, televised by the BBC, was organised by Claudia Jones, who has gone down in history as the Mother of Caribbean Carnival in Britain. Prayers to Shango were to shrines with the statue of the Catholic Saint Peter. These three elements, dressing in masquerade, music, and dancing, remain central to Carnival celebrations, whether it be at an elaborate French ball or steel drums in the streets, with costumes, masks, feathers, headdresses, dancing, music, and drums all part of the scene, along with raucous behavior. People who celebrate carnival do so with the appreciation for the culture of their ancestors, particularly their African ancestors. People wear masks and daub themselves with mud or oil. The beginnings of Alexandra Park’s Caribbean carnival mark a seminal moment in Manchester’s cultural history. If you are planning a trip to the Caribbean in February or March, when Fat Tuesday falls depending on the year, you can catch this raucous celebration that's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. However, after the Caribbean countries won independence, the tradition of Carnival remained. Historians say they believe the first "modern" Caribbean Carnival originated in Trinidad and Tobago in the late 18th century when a flood of French settlers brought the Fat Tuesday masquerade party tradition with them to the island, although Fat Tuesday celebrations were almost certainly taking place at least a century before that. Christopher Curley is a writer and editor for online and print publications. There is a history of similar festivals and events in Britain itself that have been suppressed and destroyed by a long line of British rulers. It is a symbol that asserts the positive cultural contribution of Britain’s black community. Michael La Rose can be contacted at George Padmore Centre, 76 Stroud Green Road, London N4. Jillian Dara is a freelance travel writer and fact checker. This start of Carnival is called Jouvay from Jour Ouvert (French), meaning daybreak and is the historical remnant of Canboulay. The Notting hill carnival in London started in 1966 as a protest against racism. Every Labor Day, millions of people gather in Brooklyn to celebrate Caribbean culture at the West Indian-American Day Carnival. It's the same Carnival tradition but held at a different time. Go to the photo gallery. Carnival within Britain has come to represent a celebration of Caribbean culture and community. The festival originated with Italian Catholics in Europe, and it later spread to the French and Spanish , who brought the pre-Lenten tradition with them when they settled (and brought slaves to) Trinidad, Dominica, Haiti, Martinique, and other Caribbean islands . Particular to Martinique is the "King Carnival" celebration on Ash Wednesday that includes a massive bonfire in which King Vaval, "the king of Carnival," is made out of reeds, wood, and other burnable material and then burned as an effigy in celebration. In Britain Mardi Gras is Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, USA Today 10Best, Michelin Guide, Hemispheres, DuJour, and Jetsetter. Via Run With Scissors on Flickr. The people struggled, fought and died to defend their Carnival festival. The European Mardi Gras would be forever transformed by the Canboulay Carnival of the former slaves. By the beginning of the 18th century, there were already a large number of free blacks in Trinidad mixed with French immigrants, earlier Spanish settlers, and British nationals (the island came under British control in 1797). The four elements of Carnival are song, music, costume and dance, which translate as calypso/soca, steelpan, mas (masquerade), and ‘wine’ (dance) in the Caribbean Carnival. One famous victory was the defeat of a Captain Baker and the special police brought to the island from England to suppress the Carnival in 1881. Carnival as we know it today was born and the Cowley Road got its groove back. Carnival was brought to Trinidad by the French settlers in the 1700s. The very first London Caribbean Carnival, a precursor to the Notting Hill Carnival, was held indoors at St Pancras Town Hall in January 1959. Where to Find the Best Nightlife in Martinique, How to Plan a Trip to Carnival in the Caribbean. A Caribbean carnival of carnivals Visitors to the region can find a carnival at almost any time of year. The popular Canboulay consisted of a procession with lighted torches (flambeaux) accompanied by singing, dancing and drumming. The Caribbean Carnival has been transported to North America and Europe through the migration of Caribbean peoples. Carnival was now a celebration of the end of slavery and included all the elements of the Canboulay with a masquerade that mocked the antics of their former masters as well as being a reminder of the evils of slavery. Their fierce Kalenda songs and dances provided a sense of confidence and bravado. The word Carnival is made up of two Latin words, carne, meaning flesh and vale, meaning farewell. birth, death, puberty and marriage. Carnival originated as a pagan festival in ancient Egypt which was subsequently celebrated by the Greeks and then the Romans. This resulted in Carnival's transformation from an implanted European celebration to a more heterogeneous cultural froth that included traditions from all ethnic groups. Trinidad, the birthplace of Carnival in the Caribbean, is still the biggest and wildest party, but there are many other islands where you can experience Carnival almost year-round. From 1783 for half a century, the French developed their Carnival , which was noted to be a season of gay and elegant festivities extending from Christmas to … Carnival started as a pagan festival in ancient Egypt and has grown to become one of the largest celebrations in the world. The organisers have put together a seven-day digital spectacular with entertainment, competitions, history and heritage open discussions, and more. Carnival was originally a pagan spring festival celebrated by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. The festival was introduced to Canada by immigrants from the Caribbean. Carnival History . An example of this was the forerunner of the present day Carnival, a festival called the Canboulay. The drumming was typically provided by accomplished drummers from the Yoruba religion called Shango or Rada (Trinidad) or today Orisha in Trinidad. There were many attempts by the now British colonial authorities to suppress and abolish this new type of Carnival. However, carnival started long before the emergence of Christianity and was a celebration that was highlighted on many pagan religious calendars. Antigua's Carnival, the Caribbean 's greatest summer festival, not only stages the only Caribbean Queen Show, but also attracts thousands of visitors and returning residents every year. Mr Peter Bailey, Grand Marshall for Charleston Carifest 2019. The August long weekend was chosen for its heat and low chance of rain. It is considered a judgement-free time, particularly for conservative islands with a strong Christian background. The structure of Yoruba religion starts with the one God, Olodumare and messengers between God and man called Orishas, like Yemenja and Shango, who were prayed to by pretending to pray to the Catholic saints. The festivals that were pagan in origin were thought to encourage absenteeism and disrupt the work ethic. Carnival was first brought to the Caribbean by French colonisation. The Manchester Caribbean Carnival is an annual festival that brings the Caribbean flavour and revelry for a weekend to Manchester through the sounds of Reggae, Calypso and Soca. #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } Originally, Carnival was a strictly for the white elite similar to Mardi Gras of New Orleans and was celebrated through masquerade balls, house parties, and street parades with carriages. The Caribbean Carnival consists of masquerade, dance, music and song. The festival originated with Italian Catholics in Europe, later spreading to the French and Spanish, who brought the pre-Lenten tradition when they settled (and brought slaves to) Trinidad, Dominica, Haiti, Martinique, and other islands. Carnival is where Africa and Europe met in the cauldron of the Caribbean slave system to produce a new festival for the world. Events Programme . Caribbean Carnival is the term used in the English speaking world for a series of events throughout almost the whole year that take place in many of the Caribbean islands annually and worldwide. St Lucia Carnival previously known as the Lucian Carnival is a lively and vibrant celebration of St Lucia’s rich culture and heritage! Each may have a slightly different flavour but … This celebration evolved from the islands unique mix of Catholic, Caribbean and African heritage. Leicester’s Caribbean Carnival is 35 years old this year. It starts in the darkness of the early morning on Sunday (Dimanche Gras) with drums, whistles and the beating of iron. */, Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window). The Manchester Caribbean Carnival is an annual festival that brings the Caribbean flavour and revelry for a weekend to Manchester through the sounds of Reggae, Calypso and Soca as they are pumped across the city scape from Alexandra Park via powerful sound systems. On emancipation the freed African slaves of the Caribbean transformed the European festival forever into a celebration of the end of slavery. History of Carnival and its Elements Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago is celebrated before the commencement of the Lenten season. Notting Hill Carnival: The history behind London's annual celebration of Caribbean culture. Today carnival is principally a Christian affair celebrated mainly in countries with large Catholic populations. Crudely made satirical costumes are portrayed. It's tied to colonialism, religious conversion, and ultimately freedom and celebration. Middle-class people of colour and enslaved Africans were not allowed to participate in Carnival … Caribbean Carnival is the creative and artistic expression of dispossessed people. The Yoruba were the last to be taken as slaves from West Africa to the Caribbean because of the strength of their armies, civilisation and organisation. Which Traditional Festivals Should You See in Spain? There were also stick fighters armed with three foot long bois or staves made from the wood of the Poui. The "farewell to flesh" translation, while possibly fabricated, is said to be emblematic of the sensuous abandon that came to define the Caribbean celebration of the holiday. Important to Caribbean festival arts are the ancient African traditions of parading and moving in circles through villages in costumes and masks. It encompassed a series of events and festivities from Christmas leading up to Ash Wednesday , the start of the Lenten period of fasting for Christians. In Trinidad today Carnival is celebrated every year on the two days before Ash Wednesday. The festival originated with Italian Catholics in Europe, and it later spread to the French and Spanish, who brought the pre-Lenten tradition with them when they settled (and brought slaves to) Trinidad, Dominica, Haiti, Martinique, and other Caribbean islands. The Canboulay was a night-time procession whose original purpose was to gather the slaves together and march them to neighbouring sugar cane plantations to put out fires. These took the form of a virulent media campaign and laws that tried to control the times of the festival. Licences were required for certain masquerades, they banned the use of drums and flambeaux and controlled the numbers of stick fighters. However, its history has deep cultural and socially significant roots. When is the Best Time to Visit Martinique? The origins of Carnival in Oxford lie in the Caribbean Carnival in 1986. A group of West Indians, mainly from the island of St Kitts, held a carnival parade in the Meadows. These Canboulay riots established the existence and survival of Carnival forever. Carnival in the Caribbean has a complicated origin. During a late 1966 meeting at a downtown Toronto firehall, it was decided that the concept of carnival was universal amongst Caribbean cultures, and Trinidad and Tobago 's celebrations were the best model. With a strong culture coming late to the Caribbean slave islands, they dominated the religious, cultural and artistic life of the Caribbean Africans. They celebrate victoriously, knowing carnival’s roots in colonization, and later emancipation. Charleston Caribbean Connection marks 350 years. The Caribbean carnival in Nottingham began in 1970. The Caribbean Carnival has been transported to North America and Europe through the migration of Caribbean peoples. This Carnival celebration takes its Fat Tuesday celebrations seriously, with feasts, costumes, music, and all kinds of frenzied fun. The Carnival was adapted by the Catholic Church in Europe. The following information was provided by Michael La Rose. For islanders in the Caribbean region, Carnival is a time to let loose. Under slavery these Caribbean peoples developed a new culture, using the European framework and adding West African elements to it. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. Go the the photo gallery. Top Caribbean Events for Every Month of the Year, Everything you Need to Know about the West Indian Parade, Save the Date: Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago, March 2019, Celebrate Montreal's Carifiesta Carnival in 2020, The Caribbean's Most 'Egg-cellent' Easter Traditions and Celebrations, 6 Caribbean Music Styles That Aren't Reggae, Mexican Mardi Gras: Here's how to celebrate Carnival in Mexico, Everything You Need to Know About the Ponce Carnival in Puerto Rico. The West African call-and-response and satirical songs were sung by a lead singer, the Chantwelle, and the chorus by singers called the Lavué. She says that the carnival tradition emanates from the struggle of the Caribbean … Today its legacy continues, as […] In Martinique, travelers can check out Martinique Carnival, which takes place in the days leading up to Lent and consists of both local and tourist events. 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