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 ***** largest and 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 to compare with Trinidad Carnival, the oldest and greatest of *****m all, the mother of all Carnivals, often imitated, never equaled" (Trinidad & Tobago Official Website). It would be hard to argue with that. Out of a population ***** a little over one million, ***** 100,000 p*****rticipants dress up in masquerades, "singing, dancing, ***** miming" thus keeping the tradition going strong through to ***** present day (Hill 3). Rich in history and a reflection of its history, the Carnival cont*****ues to evolve to ***** present ***** with such additions as Peter Minsh*****'s dancing mobiles. A symbol of freedom, ***** a celebration of freedom from slavery, the ***** and Tobago Carnivals are significant to island as a celebration ***** freedom ***** is deeply rooted in ***** culture of the nation, however Carnival is not merely a celebration but also an outlet for commentary on ***** important issues affect*****g Trinidad.

Trinidad's history has had a great influence on its Carnival, as the influence of ***** ***** the *****s has continuously shaped the Carnival. Trinidad was discovered by Columbus in 1498 and ruled by Spain for *****00 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 to work on new estates (Cowley *****). This policy, enacted in 1783, helped ***** incre*****e the small population ***** the *****s, yet the island remained sparsely populated, but this did help to entrench a French culture in ***** (Cowley 1985). The ***** held "elaborate masked balls" and despite the British takeover in 1797, the French culture ***** dominant (Gilkes 2003). This ***** culture was the result of ***** slaves being born in French islands and having a combination ***** an African, *****, and Caribbean amalgam of culture was not diluted with the arrival of new ***** ***** Africa (Cowley 10). These developments beginning in 1783 marked "a development of gre*****t consequence in the history of ***** island and to the institution ***** carnival" as the historical development set ***** stage for the creation of Carnival in Trinidad (Hill 7).

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


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