They are many Carnivals that occur around the world, some that we are not even aware off. In this blog post I will talk about these Carnivals and its comparison to Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival.
First of all there is the Carnival of Laza, Spain. For more information visit http://www.carnavalexhibit.org/laza.php
This Carnival is a play is acted out through music, dance, and feasting. Ritualized aggression involves participants whipping spectators and throwing ash, flour, water, and dirt filled with ants on one another. Makeshift floats express social and political commentary as does the public reading of a testament that provides comical, satirical, and exaggerated statements about the actions of the townspeople during the past year.
In addition to this there are carnivals in Basel, Switzerland. http://www.carnavalexhibit.org/switzerland.php
Basel’s Carnival, or Fasnacht, is a three-day celebration beginning at 4:00 am on Monday when all of the city lights are turned off. Hundreds of groups begin circulating through the narrow streets of the city playing fifes and drums in a spectacular event known as Morgenstraich(morning tattoo). This cacophony of sight and sound continues until dawn, when weary masqueraders make their way home for a few hours of rest before the next event. Participants choose their own costumes for the Morgenstraich parade, often representing traditional Basel masquerades.
In Tlaxcala, Mexico http://www.carnavalexhibit.org/mexico.php
These featured men wearing satirical masquerades of the wealthy Europeans and performing square dances they learned from watching the upper-class Mexicans. This springtime celebration gained popularity in the Indian villages and today it is the most important festival of the year, coinciding with traditional ritual practices related to the coming agricultural season. Groups go through the streets of their neighborhoods, performing in front of the homes of their families and sponsors. The Carnival play still focuses on satirical masquerades and square dancing, but now young women are allowed to join in as dance partners.
In Oruro, Bolivia http://www.carnavalexhibit.org/bolivia.php
After Bolivia gained its independence from Spain in 1825, upper class citizens of Oruro largely ignored the indigenous population and each group had its own Carnival celebration. In the 1940s, with the rise of a socialist movement in Bolivia, members of the upper class came to view the Indian lifestyle and culture as the model for an idealized society.
In Venice , Italy http://www.carnavalexhibit.org/venice.php
Some of the masquerades worn in Venice Carnival today are characters from the famous 16th and 17th century Italian theater, commedia dell’arte. Arlecchino (Harlequin) played the role of a faithful valet – patient, trusting, passionate, and playful. His costume is decorated with brightly colored triangles and diamonds and his black half mask has tiny eye holes and quizzically arched eyebrows accentuated by a wrinkled forehead.
In New Orleans, U.S.A they celebrate something called Mardi Gras this is one of the biggest and popular Carnivals in the world. http://www.carnavalexhibit.org/neworleans.php
Carnival in New Orleans is known as Mardi Gras – French for Fat Tuesday. The celebration was introduced by French groups from Europe and the Caribbean who settled here at the beginning of the 18th century. Following aristocratic European models, the festivities took the form of private balls sponsored by wealthy citizens. On Sunday afternoons enslaved and free Africans, who had been brought here to work on the plantations, were allowed to congregate at a place called the Congo Market. Here they celebrated their own Mardi Gras with music, song, and dance. In the mid-19th century uptown society men began to form secret male societies, known as krewes, that put on public Carnival parades of floats followed by elegant balls for their members
Another popular Carnival is that of Notting Hill Carnival that takes place in West London, England around the month of August. I am yet to experience this Carnival but my cousins always brag about it being the best. For more information visit http://thenottinghillcarnival.com/about-2/.
Every year the streets of West London come alive, with the sounds and smells of Europe’s biggest street festival. Twenty miles of vibrant colourful costumes surround over 40 static sound systems, hundreds of Caribbean food stalls,(make sure you visit Mama’s Jerk Station on the corner of Portobello Rd and Oxford Gardens) over 40,000 volunteers and over 1 million Notting Hill carnival revellers.
In addition to this there’s the famous Labor Day parade of which I was lucky to be apart of, even though I was like, ten years old!! But I sure had fun though!! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_Day_Carnival
The main event is the West Indian Day Parade, which attracts between one and three million participants. The spectators and participators watch and follow the parade on its route along Eastern Parkway. Some of the Caribbean islands represented in the parade include Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti,Barbados, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Jamaica, Saint Vincent and Grenada. Also represented are South American countries such as Guyana and Suriname and Central American country known as Belize.
There is also Caribana which takes place in Toronto, Canada http://www.torontocaribbeancarnival.com/
The Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival, formerly and still commonly called Caribana, is a festival of Caribbean culture and traditions held each summer in the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is a Caribbean Carnival event, that has been billed as North America‘s largest street festival, frequented by over 1.3 million visitors each year for the festival’s final parade and an overall attendance of 2 million.
There are also Carnivals that occur in the Caribbean such as Barbados’ Crop Over , Grenada’s Spice Mas, St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Vincy Mas, Bahamas’ Junkanoo, Jamaica’s Independence Festival, Martinique Carnival, Haitian Defile Kanaval. Cayman Islands’ Batabano, St. Kitts and Nevis Carnival among many others. http://theculturetrip.com/caribbean/articles/a-celebration-of-roots-the-best-carnivals-in-the-caribbean-/
Even though all of these carnivals are popular and big in their own right, one of the biggest, most popular carnivals in the world is Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s Carnival. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rio_Carnival
The typical Rio carnival parade is filled with revelers, floats and adornments from numerous samba schools which are located in Rio (more than 200 approximately, divided into 5 leagues/ divisions). A samba school is composed of a collaboration of local neighbours that want to attend carnival together, with some kind of regional, geographical common background.
There is a special order that every school has to follow with their parade entries. Each school begins with the “comissão de frente” (“Front Commission” in English), that is the group of people from the school that appear first. Made of ten to fifteen people, the “comissão de frente” introduces the school and sets the mood and style of their presentation. These people have choreographed dances in fancy costumes that usually tell a short story. Following the “comissão de frente” is the first float of the samba school, called “abre-alas” ( “Opening Wing” in English ).
Many people would say that Rio’s Carnival is the best Carnival in the world, and even though they have more popularity and bring more tourism and revenue, and even though its arguable that Trini’s Carnival costumes are becoming more and more like Rio’s Carnival costumes by the year, I would stay true to my Trini roots and choose Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival over Rio’s Carnival any day. One of the major reasons being that in T&T Carnival the people of the country get to partake in the actual Carnival in contrast to Rio’s Carnival where the procession consists of dancers that are members of various dance groups in the country. Another reason being that I am off course Trini to the bone!
For more information visit