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 *****, celebrated the week before Ashe Wednesday every year, is am*****g the largest ***** 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 to compare with Tr*****idad Carnival, the oldest and greatest of them all, the mother ***** ***** 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 p*****rticipants dress up in masquerades, "singing, 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 Minshall's dancing mobiles. A symbol of freedom, and a celebr*****tion of freedom from slavery, the Trinidad and Tobago Carnivals are significant to isl***** ***** a celebration of freedom ***** is deeply rooted in the culture of the nation, however Carnival is not merely a celebration but also an outlet for commentary on the important ********** affecting Trinidad.

*****'s history has had a great influence on its Carnival, as the influence of history ***** the years has continuously 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 ***** 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 9). This policy, enacted in 1783, helped to incre*****e ***** small population ***** the islands, yet the island remained sparsely populated, but this did help to entrench a French ***** in Tr*****idad (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 of ***** slaves being born in French islands and having a combination of an African, French, and Caribbean amalgam of culture was not diluted with the arrival of new ***** ***** Africa (***** 10). These developments beginning in 1783 marked "a development of great consequence in the history ***** ***** island and to the institution of carnival" as the historical development set the stage for the creation of Carnival in Trinidad (Hill 7).

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


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