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


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Trinidad Carnival

John S.)

Trinidad Carnival:

The Greatest *****how on Earth

The Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, celebrated the week before Ashe Wednesday every year, is among the largest ***** most popular in the world. Accord*****g to the Trinidad and Tobago official website, this annual event is unrivaled in the *****. "There ***** no experience on earth ***** compare with ***** Carnival, the oldest and greatest of them all, the mother of all 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 history and a reflection of its history, ***** Carnival continues to evolve to the present day 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 isl***** as a celebration of freedom that is deeply rooted in the culture of the nation, however Carnival is not merely a celebration but also an outlet for commentary on ***** important issues affecting Trinidad.

Trinidad's history has had a great influence on ***** Carnival, as the influence of ***** ***** ***** *****s has c*****tinuously shaped the Carnival. Trinidad was discovered by Columbus in 1498 and ruled by Spain for 300 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 *****). This policy, enacted in 1783, helped to increase the small populati***** ***** the **********, yet the island remained sparsely populated, but this did help to entrench a ***** culture in ***** (Cowley 1985). The French held "elaborate masked balls" and despite the British takeover in 1797, ***** French culture ***** dominant (Gilkes 2003). This French culture was the result of the slaves being born in French islands and having a combin*****tion of an African, French, and Caribbean amalgam of ***** was not diluted with the arrival of new slaves ***** Africa (Cowley 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 ***** began to develop as a multicultural *****, the social conditions behind ***** population growth would influence the origins of Carnival. As tight regulations kept social and racial cl*****ses separate, those of ***** descent would create a parallel society ***** reflected the culture of the white elite class (Cowley 11). Africans would use *****s to express discontent with social divisions, an example being the Shand Estate Revolt of Christmas 1805 as festivals during holidays would be an opportunity for cultural ********** political expression. The most significant event,

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