The History of Carnival
Or – Oh to look like her for just one night!
Carnival is a huge festival celebrated originally as the
ancient Greek festival of Spring.
In honor of Dionysus, that naughty boy, his debauchery and
cavorting was held as an example of how to celebrate this season of
coming growth. Being the
god of wine, Dionysian festivals also including far too much drinking,
but with the hope of much fertility and abundance in the coming months.
Although old tomes run rich with hangover remedies.
The Romans (of course) “borrowed” the festival and
dedicated it to Bacchus, their god of wine.
They honored the festival of Saturnalia at the same time, with
clothing exchanges amongst classes, drunkenness in the street, traveling
musicians and food vendors by the score.
Saturnalia was later absorbed into the scores of borrowed
pagan holidays, now becoming the festival leading up to Ash Wednesday.
Although the Church fought hard to keep the masses in control, with an
overabundance of mandatory
church attendance through all of the spring/lent days. Instead, the
people pushed the holiday/festival spirit to unbelievable limits, all in
the guise of a holiday. What
a wonderful independence of spirit these festivals show.
The true base of paganism.
So, in today’s world, the celebrations of Carnival take
place in many places around the globe. The most famous perhaps, is the
Carnival of Rio. A massive
celebration including every possible overindulgence available.
A huge orgy of food, drink and sex before the long 40 days of
Lent and personal deprivation, all in the name of faith.
Within this huge festival, you’ll see dancers, topless,
risqué, costumes flashing with sparkles and floating on the breeze,
replete with feather headdresses and flimsy skirts. Street performers,
musicians, acrobats and actors….all manner of character filling every
The word carnival is from Carne Vale of the Latin or
“Goodbye to the flesh”. A
very appropriate name for one of the southern hemisphere’s biggest
Copyright - 2003