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Carnival in the Caribbean

Aug 17, 2007
A Caribbean carnival is held every year to celebrate life. Many years ago, the Catholics in Italy began the tradition of having a costume festival before the first day of Lent. During Lent, Catholics are not permitted to eat meat and the act of putting meat away is was called cane vale back then, so that is what this festival got named. The rest, as they say, is history. The carnivals became famous and the practice soon spread to other parts of Europe across all the Catholic countries. When the French, Portuguese, and Spanish forces began their occupations of the Americas, the festival was brought along with them and here we are today.

A Caribbean carnival is special because it represents the amalgamation of many historic twists that have been witnessed by these islands. A big influencing factor is the numerous European, African, Chinese, and Indian slaves and indentured workers that were brought to the Caribbean in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Due to the large number of Africans, the African traditions have a profound impact on the Caribbean carnival. This includes the circling of villages that is believed to bring good fortune, resolve problems, and bring peace to dead people. Other African influences in Caribbean carnival include the gathering of natural objects like beads, bones, shells, grasses, etc. to create a mask or sculpture with the different objects representing different ideas and spiritual forces.

A Caribbean carnival is very colorful and quite exciting and it is celebrated all throughout the Caribbean though every island has its own unique twist to the celebrations. The dates also vary across the islands. Since the native Caribbeans are quite skilful at creating music, the Caribbean carnival is filled with music and of course, dance. Every Caribbean carnival unleashes the creative talents of the natives as they create new tunes and melodies to which people may dance.

While music, song, dance, and colorful costumes are all right, a Caribbean carnival is not complete without some great food. Caribbean cooking is a delicious thing, even outside of a festival, and during a festival the cooks apparently go out of their way to make certain that no one can resist their creations.
One of the best ways to experience a lot of diverse Caribbean carnivals is to go on a sailing vacation through the Caribbean. You can plot your own course through the islands and stop anywhere you want to enjoy the various forms of Caribbean carnival.
About the Author
James Penn runs a highly informative Caribbean website which details exactly how to find Caribbean beach resorts and also the ten best activities in the Caribbean for families and couples alike.
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