is defined by the dictionary as: "a
reveling or a time of revelry, festivity and merrymaking; a travelling
with side shows,
games and rides; an organised program of festivities and contests".
What do people do at Carnival? They dance, watch the parade of
dazzling costumes, play mas, ride on floats, listen to live bands
systems and have a fantastic time! They also participate in activities
that come from two histories: those of Trinidad and those of Londoners
whose family roots are in the West Indies.
Carnival celebrations date back to 1833 and the Abolition
of Slavery Act, when the first Caribbean
carnival took place in Trinidad.
This evolved into a special part of the area's heritage and it remains
centred in Trinidad. It was there that the "five disciplines" of
Carnival were developed.
These five constituents of Carnival are: the musics of Calypso
and Soca; the tradition of "playing mas" (making and parading
lavish costumes and decorative floats); the playing of steel pans
and performances by sound systems, whose
aesthetics derive from Jamaican reggae.
All these traditions were brought to the UK by settlers from the Caribbean. Initially,
they celebrated Carnival privately or locally. But,
in 1958, after a series of race riots, community activist Claudia
Jones became determined that Carnival
should be shared.
London's first public Carnival was held 30 January 1959, in St. Pancras
Town Hall. Although much of its organising always came from Notting
Hill, Carnival itself moved here officially only in 1964.
CLICK HERE for some links
about Notting Hill Carnival