Essay - Trinidad Carnival John S.) Trinidad Carnival: the Greatest Show on...

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Trinidad Carnival

John S.)

Trinidad Carnival:

The Greatest Show on Earth

***** Trinidad and Tobago *****, celebrated the week before Ashe Wednesday every year, is among the largest and most popular in the world. Accord*****g to the Trinidad and Tobago official website, this annual event is unrivaled in the world. "There is no experience on earth to compare with ***** Carnival, the oldest and greatest of *****m all, the mother ***** ***** Carnivals, often imitated, never equaled" (Tr*****idad & ***** Official Website). It would be hard to argue with that. Out of a population ***** a little over one million, over 100,000 participants dress up in masquerades, "s*****ging, dancing, ***** miming" thus keeping the tradition going strong through to the present day (Hill 3). Rich in h*****tory and a reflection of its history, ***** Carnival continues to evolve to the present day with such additions as Peter Minshall's dancing mobiles. A symbol of freedom, ***** a celebration of freedom from slavery, ***** Trinidad and Tobago Carnivals are significant to isl***** ***** a celebr*****tion of freedom that is deeply rooted in the culture ***** the nation, however Carnival is not merely a celebration but also an outlet for commentary on ***** important ********** affecting Trinidad.

Trinidad's history has had a great influence on its Carnival, as the influence of ***** through the ********** has continuously shaped the Carnival. Trinidad was discovered by Columbus in 1498 and ruled by Spain for ********** years as an extremely "underdeveloped" possession (Cowley 9). In the late 18th century, Charles III decided to "rejuvenate" ***** colonies and invited Catholics to settle the colony resulting in French planters bringing slaves to work on new estates (Cowley 9). This policy, enacted in 1783, helped ***** *****crease the small ***** ***** the *****ands, yet the island remained sparsely populated, but this did help to entrench a ***** culture in ***** (Cowley 1*****85). The French held "elaborate masked balls" and despite ***** British takeover ***** 1797, the French culture ***** dominant (Gilkes 2003). This ***** culture was the result of the slaves being born in French islands and having a combinati***** ***** an African, *****, and Caribbean amalgam of culture was not diluted with the arrival of new slaves ***** Africa (***** 10). ********** developments beginning in 1783 marked "a development of ***** consequence in the history ***** the island and to the institution of carnival" as the historical development set the stage for ***** creation of Carnival in Trinidad (Hill 7).

As Trinidad began to develop as a multicultural *****, the social conditions behind ***** population growth would influence the origins of *****. As tight regulations kept social and racial classes separate, those of African descent would create a parallel society ***** reflected the ***** of the white elite class (Cowley 11). Africans would use celebrations to express discontent ***** social divisions, an example being ***** Shand Estate Revolt of Christmas 1805 as festivals during holidays would be an opportunity ***** cultural and political expression. The ***** significant event,


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