Becoming Part Of The Folião

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Madison Green, Reporter

Towards the end of February and beginning of March marked the celebration of Carnival for the year 2020. For those of you who don’t know what carnival is, Carnival is a western Christian festival season that occurs before Lent. Lent is the period in which people prepare for Easter by partaking in a 40-day fasting which begins on Ash 

Wednesday. Carnival is derived from “carneval” which means “to put away meat”. This refers to lent since meat is not consumed before Easter. Carnival takes place all over the world because it was spread all over the world. It all started with Italian Catholics in Europe, which then spread to the French and Spanish who bought pre-lenten slaves to the carribean islands and passed it down to the enslaved people on the islands. Now today carnival is celebrated in New Orleans (Mardi Gras), Brazil, Trinidad & Tobago, Canada, India, Colombia, Jamaica, and many more. 

This festival is about enjoying your life by partaking in dancing, drinking, eating, and more fun party activities before fast. People dress in skimpy costumes, that is similar to a bikini swimsuit, the only thing is that they wear elaborate feathers through their costumes, masks, headdresses, and usually running shoes for the long-distance walking. They walk around for hours in a parade showing off their attire and adding color and personality to their homeland that they are proud of. These parades feature traditional dances like limbo dancing, which everybody knows is when someone goes under a stick at a low height. There’s also a dance called Calypso, which is similar to the rumba. It has a series of movements like twirling, moving hips, or clapping the beat on a drum. Lastly probably the most popular, most used, and most anticipated dance at carnival festival is a dance called Whine. Whining is a type of soca dance (it describes a style originating from Trinidad where caribbean dancers dance to a blend of calypso and soul music that is very popular in dancehall culture) that emphasizes the movement of the hips and the rotation of the hips to the rhythm of music, especially soca music. 

Caribbean festivals tend to feature many colorful floats with animals, cartoon characters, political figures, celebrities, soca dancers, and other festive ideas. The decoration is a massive size, and is attached to some type of vehicle, driven or towed, and paraded around for all to see. 

Being that this festival is open to everyone regardless of race, sex, age group, and any other sector or structure of the world’s population, everyone should experience this parade at least once. It’s such a welcoming, cool environment to be in. There is all types of culture and tradition that will surely enthrall you. If you’ve never seen something like this, it’s time to step outside your comfort zone, and experience your first carnival parade.