Carnival: Past & Present

A few thousand years ago, the native Europeans lived quite a decent natural life. However, when winter came along, their peaceful living came to an end. Due to the cold winters of Europe, crops did not grow and famine began. These native tribes developed a festival to celebrate the beginning of spring and coming back of daylight. From this time on, crops would flourish and food would be abundant.

Later, this celebration was absorbed by Greek and Roman cultures and religions. Carnival has been part of the history of Europe for as long as European society can remember. Since Christians are not supposed to eat meat during lent, the name carnevale was given to this holiday, which means “to put away meat”. For this reason, when Christianity was developing they preserved this tradition and adapted it to the religion. This is the Carnival celebration that we commemorate nowadays. It became a time of having fun and enjoying pleasures of life, before the start of the Christian Lent. Therefore, the period of carnival is sometimes referred to as Pre-Lent.

During Carnival, people get dressed up and attend parades. It is known as a time where people can “break the rules” and have the time of their lives. Some of the most popular places to celebrate Carnival are usually predominantly Christian countries, such as Italy, Spain, England, Germany, Colombia, Brazil, Canada, … In places such as the United States, Carnival is referred to as Mardi Gras (meaning Fat Tuesday in French).

In Chester College International School, students from Pre-K to Elementary had a small parade to show the school their costumes. There were princesses, dancers, and even a jaguar. Some of the older students also got dressed up as pirates, soldiers, etc… Everyone had a wonderful time disguising themselves in honor of this historical European tradition.

– Hafsa Salih, Mateo López & Ali Amaro (Writing Club)


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