Analysis of Caribbean Festivals Essay

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The Caribbean is a region known not only for its sun, sand and sea, but its festivals. Also known as ‘Caribbean Carnival’, these festivals have spread to the diaspora. Oxford Dictionaries define carnival as, “a period of public revelry at a regular time each year, typically during the week before Lent in Roman Catholic countries, involving processions, music, dancing, and the use of masquerade.” The term and concept of ‘carnival’ originated in Italy, however, with the influence of African culture, carnivals in the Caribbean took on its own form. It can be understood that the modern carnival was born out of colonialism and eventually freedom. According to Julia Hewitt: "In the Caribbean, carnival as a mode of performing resistance, carries …show more content…
One of the advantages of Caribbean festivals within the region is the impact that it has on tourism.
Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago
One of Trinidad and Tobago’s most prominent festivals is the “Trinidad and Tobago Carnival” otherwise known as just “Carnival”. With a large reputation, it is known as the most developed of all the festivals in the region. It is an annual festival held on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. The concept of carnival was brought to the island in the 18th century by French Catholic planters. During this time, it was dominated by the white elite class. As such, blacks and coloureds were not allowed to take part in the festivities. After Emancipation in 1838, the then freed slaves, took over Carnival which was previously a white centred event. These men and women took to the streets, revelling in their new found freedom. This soon became incorporated into Carnival, making the festival a symbol of social protest.
According to the Trinidad and Tobago National Library and Information System Authority:
“After Emancipation the slaves used this celebration as a symbol of the change in their status. They engaged in masking, dancing, stick fighting, mocking the whites and re-enacting scenes of past enslavement. The August 1st celebration lasted for about a decade, after which it was transferred to the pre-Lenten season. […] During this period the whites and coloureds ceased their participation in the street festival, thereby
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