Come to the Carnival
During England, in most of the seaside towns and in many inland cities also, the hot summer months of June, July and August would be the sign for carnival time. England might not be able to match all of the riotous grandeur of Rio or Jamaica, but what English country and seaside carnivals lack in all that jazz and colour they more than make up for in warmth and excitement. Wildlife Removal Port St Lucie
A carnival is a public festival or event characterized by street processions, lots of dressing up in fancy and colourful costumes and made merry with loads of dancing and singing. The origins of these jolly celebrations return in the pagan mists of history and appear to be recorded in ancient Greece when the parties were all in honor of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine.
The Romans enjoyed the idea so much that if they picked up the baton of progressing world culture they turned the entire thing in their own Bacchanalia. It was still a heathen party, dedicated today to Bacchus their god of plant and beverage. And it remained the ideal excuse to get a rip-roaring booze up.
At precisely the exact same time the ruling elite were wise enough to understand that the great number of slaves and the reduced masses needed an occasional ways to let off steam and go crazy without actually blowing into a full scale rebellion. So a couple of refinements were added, like allowing people to dress up, wear masks to escape recognition and also play role reversal. For the duration of the festival that the general populace could ape their betters and eliminate it. Everything and anything was tolerated.
The Bacchanalia became the Saturnalia, which literally means the surplus of the senses. Nothing was sacred and nothing was prohibited, and in the end of it we could only assume that the revellers were exhausted and the hangovers so huge that they went meekly back to being slaves .
The Saturnalia could no longer be tolerated only as a drunken orgy and thus it had to be altered and changed again. The orders still had an annual relaxing of the rules to celebrate and so the more acceptable aspects such as the disguised play acting, the feasting and parades and the street party atmosphere were kept. They were integrated instead to the new Christian festival of Lent.
It must have taken quite a feat of imagination to turn a quick into a festival, but naturally there is both a start and an end to a period of fasting, and can be the cause for casting aside all of the restraints.
The Tuesday before the fasting started was known as Fat Tuesday, it was the final opportunity to stuff yourself and over-indulge in food and drink before the long fast started. The European settlers who colonized the Americas took the word together. Hence those amazing carnivals in Rio, Jamaica and Trinidad all now infused with the warmth and colours as well as the rhythmic drum beats of tropical Africa.
It’s come full circle with the Notting Hill Carnival in London, an exotic taste of the Caribbean which could attract a million people.
However, since the nation has become more secular the true basis of carnival has become separated from its Christian links. The dates have moved ahead to those warmer months of the year once we can really enjoy them.
Plus there were a number of fairs, festivals and designated family fun days which were carnivals in all but the title. From the lakes and broads of England the carnival is now a waterborne regatta.
That name seemed to include all of it, plus it had been advertised as having a Medieval Theme and you can’t imagine a more appropriate background for the middle ages than this enchanting old wool town.
It is a city of overhanging white and black timbers and pastel pretty color washes where more than 300 of those pantomime background structures are listed buildings. The more elaborate were retailer’s houses or guildhalls and Lavenham was among the most prosperous towns in East Anglia.
The carnival parade started from the mediaeval market square before the most magnificent Tudor building of all of them, the early black and white Holy Trinity Guildhall. A group of women in Tudor costumes entertained the crowds with a screen of mediaeval dancing, before lining up behind the Glen Morrison Pipe and Drum band for the procession into the carnival showground.
I had picked my camera channel where they switched from the top of Church Street to Bridge End Road on the last lap up to the showground. Together with kilts swirling and the pipes skirling the Highlanders made a glorious picture as they turned facing the towering flint tower of the glorious Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.
The procession turned to the crowded showground and then paraded around the middle ring. Eventually there was judging and the introducing of the prizes for the best conceived costumes.
There was a costumed side-by-side screen, with elegant gentlemen and ladies in period dress placing their gloss dressed horses through their prancing paces, an equestrian event having an almost compulsory presentation at any genuinely English nation collecting. There was also a parade of legacy cows and sheep, the latter particularly appropriate since the so-called Golden Fleece had ever been the prime source of wealth during Lavenham’s heritage golden era.
To bring the mood closer to the modern day there was also a fantastic selection of classic automobiles on parade from the Lavenham Press Rare Breeds Motor Show. Around 450 of those glorious vintage vehicles were constructed, all polished and restored to perfection, their chrome glass and paintwork gleaming in sunlight.
There was a fun fair for the kids, trade stalls to the mums, side shows and amusement along with a tea tent and pub. The bar was well populated but this wasn’t any Dionysian orgy. Ale appeared more preferable to wine and its consumption was cheerful and commanded. The mood was relaxed and happy with everyone enjoying the hot August sunshine. It was the ideal bank holiday weekend.
It’s a fantastic family day out with something for everybody. This year they’ll do it at Lavenham and all the other cities and villages where carnival is now an annual event.
Watch the local media for the days and the dates. There’s guaranteed to be a carnival someplace near where you go in England.
In the words of the tune,”Come to the Carnival.”