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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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Marital law which finally ended in 1846 was traditionally enforced by the English colonies in the Caribbean from Christmas through the first or second week of January.(Liverpool:132)These festivities along with the pomp and ceremony involved in imposing marital law (this included maneuvers by the militia), provide the slaves with ideas for some of the earliest masquerades for carnival.

Trinidad’s French Creole planter community used this opportunity to celebrate their memories of their ancestral home. Pre-emancipation carnival was highly stratified and segregated affair, however with the planters and the free coloured keeping to themselves. Slaves were in theory debarred from the festivities but eye witness’ evidence suggests that they will have taken advantage of the temporary anarchy to indulge in the street parades (Regis 2000:231).Because of this segregation and the debarring of slaves from this celebration the slaves in turn would hold their own little carnivals in their backyards called the Dame Lorraine masque(Regis 2000:231) by using their own rituals and folklore but also imitating their masters’ behaviour at the masked balls.

The pre-emancipation carnival saw whites costume themselves as negres de jardin (field Negro labourers) and mulatresses.This also reenacted the Cannes Brulees (French for burning canes): the practice of rounding up slaves to put out fires in the cane fields.
“In the days of slavery whenever fire
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