Carnival is a highlight of the year for many people.
A display of costumes, music food the almost obligatory sight of dancing policemen and women, sound systems, Jerk pans , Steel Pans, and a whole lot of fun.
Carnival is possibly the largest and most well known of all Caribbean festivals. Some claim it was born initially from a Catholic pre lent festival which was adopted by Africans in the Caribbean who made it this town. Others state it was Africans who created the festive, born by those who fought against slavery and colonialism, and incorporate their African traditions into the festival mocking previous slave 'masters', and the evils of slavery whilst celebrating 'freedom'.
For many to is known as 'play mass'.
A lot has changed since then.
Our modern day Carnival remains beautiful, but I do sometimes wonder how and why it has become so overly sexualised.
Let me explain.
I noticed it most last year, when a woman walked by pretty much naked. and I mean.. pretty much naked.
Now we all expect to see some ( and bare) some flesh at Carnival, but unlike other costumes this particular flesh wasn't adored with anything bright shiny or sparkly, it was just.. well.. raw flesh. To be fair she had on a tiny thong, and from what I recall a small bra but that was it.
I understand the desire to let go and be free but it's not solely and adult party.
It's a paradox, as I'm not suggesting that children should feel ashamed of nakedness, or be raised to embrace what later can become, 'hang ups', but adult nakedness performing adult rituals, may be a bit much...especially on children's day.
Now instead of asking their parents what a particular mask or performance may mean they ae simply more often that not, being acclimatised to observing simulating sex in public, and barely dressed women.
Many will say it's a sign of female empowerment, no matter the shape or size a woman can celebrate her unique beauty.
Ok - I hear that.
Personally, when it comes to Carnival, I'm certainly a soca and band person and can follow the floats all day, but will venture to the sound systems from time to time to enjoy a variety of music. Everything about the festival is joyous, however, If Carnival remains a celebration of Caribbean culture, exactly which aspect of our cultures are we celebrtaing?
I see little evidence of its historical roots, rather an opportunity to parade as close to 'naked's possible on the street.
which leads me to wonder, has carnival lost its way?
Notting Hill Carnival whilst remaining a Caribbean festival is multi-cultural affair, and a time when pretty much anyone can experience some Caribbean flavour.. at least for a day. It would be Nice therefore to see more costumes depicting or history, a little-bit- more.
We are complex people with a complex past. loved and feared in equal measure.
lets hear what others have to say...
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