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

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

Trinidad's history has had a great influence on its Carnival, as ***** influence of history ***** the ********** has c*****tinuously shaped the *****. Trinidad was discovered by Columbus in 1498 and ruled by Spain for 300 years as an extremely "underdeveloped" possession (Cowley 9). In ***** late 18th century, Charles III decided to "rejuvenate" the colonies and invited Catholics to settle the colony resulting in French planters bringing slaves ***** work on new estates (Cowley *****). This policy, enacted in 1783, helped to incre*****e ***** small ***** ***** the *****ands, yet the island remained sparsely populated, but this did help to entrench a ***** ***** in ***** (Cowley 1985). The French held "elaborate masked balls" and despite the British takeover ***** 1797, ***** French culture ***** dominant (Gilkes 2003). This French culture was the result of the slaves being born in French isl*****s and having a combination of an African, French, ***** Caribbean amalgam ***** culture was not diluted with the arrival of new slaves ***** Africa (***** 10). These developments beginning in 1783 marked "a development of gre*****t 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 cl*****ses separate, those of ***** descent would create a parallel society that reflected the ***** of the white elite class (Cowley 11). Africans would use celebrations to express discontent with social divisions, an example being ***** Sh*****d Estate Revolt of Christmas 1805 as festivals during holidays would be an opportunity ***** cultural and political expression. The ***** ***** event,


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