History and Culture

History of Carnival

Since Antiquity, different peoples have instituted joyous festivals: the festivals of Isis among the Egyptians, bacchanalia in Greece or saturnalia in Rome feasts, loud music, dances, disguises, extreme license formed the basis of these celebrations. Later in Europe, the Christian church tolerated and to some extent regularized these amusements. The time devoted to the pagan festival was adopted by Christians whose carnival began on December 25 & embraced Christmas, New Year & Epiphany …

There was a fictitious shift in social conditions, an assumption of equality between people, through games, cross-dressing, feasts, dances … In the Middle Ages, carnival became less dissolved than in Antiquity. The influence of Italy after the 15th century brought into fashion public masquerades, masked balls & revived the taste of the nation for mockery, intrigue & easy pleasures. In France, the vogue and the sparkle of carnival were lost a lot in the 19th & 20th centuries.

The word CARNAVAL would come from the Latin cornus navalis or naval tank Dyonisos-bacchus, the god of vines and intoxication, is said to have come by sea and during the holidays we ride him on a chariot shaped like a boat.

An outlet

It would seem that carnival draws its raison d’être, not from the simple need for relaxation and entertainment, but from the secret need, for a given society, especially when it is hierarchical, to provide safety valves. One of the essential characteristics of carnival, the inversion of roles, is closely related to voodoo rites, the opportunity offered, during services, to the faithful ride by the Ioa, to become the god or goddess: such poor by identifying herself Erzulie is adorned with jewelry and toilets that she will never possess, such a poor devil without authority can magically exercise, the time of a mystical fusion, the power of Ogoun, the warrior god. In carnival manifestations, the inversion of roles, or at least social leveling (the mask blurring the distinctive signs), limited in time, exorcised by play, appear as a precious outlet.

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