Trinidad and Tobago Carnival 2009
This carnival season was truly a memorable one. The colors were amazing, the people were eccentric, and the food was beyond comprehension.
Here's a little history lesson...
Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago originally had its roots in both West African festivals and French Catholic carnival celebrations, where mask were donned and social visits ensued. When the use of drums and religious practices were prohibited, slaves (and then former slaves) found novel ways to pass on their heritage.
Carnival then grew with African influences from the slaves who added singing, dancing, and music to transform Carnival into what we see today. Carnival is celebrated two days before Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent. In the earliest times, similar celebrations were held at the end of crops being harvested, hence the Crop Over celebrations in some other Caribbean islands.
However, as harvest festivals were reduced, the festival time became co-terminous with French colonists' celebration, the pre-Lenten festival tied to the Roman Catholic carne vale (farewell to the flesh), in preparation for fasting and religious disciplines of Lent.