The Birth of celebration
By: Colombia Festiva
What happens if a European religious woman, good cook and moonlight lover, joins an African man who plays drums wearing a mask worshiping the sunlight?
The history of carnivals can be seen from different angles, but one thing is certain: it is a cultural exchange that started centuries ago, with travelling, commerce and art (now with photography and video)
The ideas are not generated from scratch, is an evolution or better, a mutation of something that has been seen, felt or solved. This is why the history of the carnival is a new version of the Roman Saturnalia, son of celebrations in honor of the bull Apis in Egypt.
Comparing with today, the beginning of the carnival (the word comes from Vulgar Latin: carne levare, which means "abandon the flesh" ...) One moment ... this gives us light on why carnivals happen before Lent. Leaving the meat is an obligatory action for all christian people the Friday before Easter.
We said that the beginning of the carnival is comparable to a Roman ancestor, by being the Saturnalia festival an important event where slaves were given extra rations, leisure and other perks (doesn't it sounds like Christmas?) Well, yes and no, the church interested in maintaining rites and honors near the faithful, the Saturnalia was timed to coincide with the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.
The Saturnalia, celebrating the year harvest and a welcome to rest away the daily effort, were rescheduled for the end of the year, along with their customs, banquet and obligations release.
Over time, these celebrations began using makeup and masks, adding a new ingredient to the carnival's recipe. Africa comes with its rhythm, color, masks and feathers, giving life to the celebration with an influential outfit.
There are many differences and equivalences between African and European carnivals, but is in our South American and Caribbean continent where traditions and scenarios finally met and merged in some degree.
The African slaves kept their traditions and the Europeans brought their religious festivals and masquerades generating the so-called CARNIVAL. One way to keep in touch with our roots, and an opportunity to break free "by madness, ecstasy and wine" as proposed by Bacchus, during the genesis of the celebration.