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 *****, celebrated the week before Ashe Wednesday every year, is am*****g the largest and most popular in the world. Accord*****g to the Trinidad and Tobago official website, this annual event is unrivaled in the world. "There ***** no experience on earth ***** compare with Tr*****idad Carnival, the oldest and greatest of them all, the mother of ***** 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, and miming" thus keeping the tradition going strong through to the present day (Hill 3). Rich in history and a reflection of its history, the Carnival continues to evolve to ***** present ***** with such additions as Peter Minshall's dancing mobiles. A symbol of freedom, ***** a celebration of freedom from slavery, the ***** and Tobago Carnivals are significant to isl***** ***** a celebration ***** freedom that is deeply rooted in ***** culture of the nation, however Carnival is not merely a celebration but also an outlet for commentary on the important issues affect*****g Trinidad.

Trinidad's history has had a great influence on ***** Carnival, as the influence of ***** ***** ***** years has continuously shaped the *****. Trinidad was discovered by Columbus in 1498 and ruled by Spain for ********** 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 9). This policy, enacted in 1783, helped to incre*****e the small population ***** the *****ands, yet the island remained sparsely populated, but this did help to entrench a ***** culture in ***** (Cowley 1*****85). The French held "elaborate masked balls" and despite the British takeover in 1797, the French culture remained dominant (Gilkes 2003). This ***** culture was the result of the slaves being born in French islands and having a combin*****tion of an African, *****, ***** Caribbean amalgam ***** ***** was not diluted with the arrival of new ***** from Africa (Cowley 10). ********** developments beginning in 1783 marked "a development of ***** consequence in the history ***** ***** isl*****nd and to the institution of carnival" as the his*****rical development set the stage for the creation of Carnival in Trinidad (Hill 7).

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


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