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

*****'s history has had a great influence on ***** Carnival, as the influence of history ***** the years has c*****tinuously shaped the *****. Trinidad was discovered by Columbus in 1498 and ruled by Spain for 300 ***** 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 to increase the small ***** of the islands, yet the island remained sparsely populated, but this did help to entrench a ***** culture in Trinidad (Cowley 1*****85). The French held "elaborate masked balls" and despite ***** British takeover in 1797, the French culture remained dominant (Gilkes 2003). This ***** culture was the result ***** the slaves being born in French ***** and having a combinati***** of an African, *****, and Caribbean amalgam ***** culture was not diluted with the arrival of new ***** ***** Africa (***** 10). ********** developments beginning in 1783 marked "a development of ***** consequence in the history of the isl*****nd and to the institution of carnival" as the historical development set ***** stage for the creation of Carnival in Trinidad (Hill 7).

As ***** began to develop as a multicultural island, the social conditions behind ***** population growth would influence the origins of *****. As tight regulations kept social and racial cl*****ses separate, those of African descent would create a p*****rallel society that reflected the culture of the white elite class (Cowley 11). *****s ***** use celebrations to express discontent ***** social divisions, an example being ***** Sh***** Estate Revolt of Christmas 1805 as festivals during holidays would be an opportunity for cultural and political expression. The most significant event,


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