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How to Plan a Trip to Carnival in the Caribbean

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An Introduction to Carnival
How to Plan a Trip to Carnival in the Caribbean

Some Carnival costumes have darker themes, like this skull costume.

© Bob Curley
Carnival in the Caribbean has a complicated birthright, tied as it is to colonialism, religious conversion, and ultimately freedom and celebration. The festival originated with Italian Catholics in Europe, later spreading to the French and Spanish, who brought the pre-Lenten tradition when they settled (and brought slaves to) Trinidad, Dominica, Haiti, Martinique, and other islands. Carnival itself is thought to mean "farewell to meat" or "farewell to flesh," the former referencing the Catholic practice of abstaining from red meat from Ash Wednesday until Easter. The latter explanation, while possibly apocryphal, is said to be emblematic of the sensuous abandon that came to define the Caribbean celebration of the holiday.

Read More:

A Brief History of Carnival in the Caribbean

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