Carnivals and the Influence In South Florida
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When someone who hails from a Caribbean island hears the term “Carnival,” one of the first countries that immediately comes to mind is without a doubt, the twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Located at bottom of the Lesser Antilles, these two, small and separate islands, form the republic of one country that hosts one of, if not the largest carnival celebration in the Caribbean. There are many aspects to carnival in Trinidad and Tobago and therefore this month, the South Florida Caribbean Conference (SFCC) has decided to highlight the more important aspects of Carnival and give insight as to how Carnival and the culture it represents, continues to flourish in South Florida.
The History of Carnival
Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago is an annual event that typically occurs on the Monday and Tuesday of the last week, before Ash Wednesday or as many would accurately point out, the beginning of Lent. Trinidad and Tobago is made up of many diverse cultures and ethnic groups. Whilst the origin of Carnival was heavily influenced as a result of the French Revolution, the multiplicity of cultures has shaped it into the spectacular display that it is today.
“Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago is one of grandeur, colour, revelry, rhythm, and gaiety. Evolving over the past two centuries from an elegant, exclusive affair to a truly all-inclusive national festival, it is by far the most spectacular event on the nation’s calendar. ” (“History of Trinidad and Tobago Carnival,” 2016)
Trinidad and Tobago carnival has some unique qualities that make it stand apart from other Carnivals throughout the Caribbean and around the world. Some of these assets include the calypso and soca music, the legendary calypso and soca singers, the instruments such as the steel pan which was invented in Trinidad, the Tassa drumming which was brought to Trinidad by indentured laborers, the language spoken (dialect) which is made of all the cultures that exist on the islands and even the costumes and rich history which comes alive and tells a story to the onlooker.
Read our February Newsletter to learn more about the influence of Carnival in South Florida: