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Carnival is not my culture



Editor: It has become well known that Carnival and Bacchanal mean the same thing – revelling, masquerading, and misbehaviour.{{more}} Although Carnival-lovers and Soca artistes may not be concerned with the ancient history of Carnival, they agree even in their songs that “Carnival is bacchanal time, a time to get on bad, get out of control, and misbehave”. The New Collegiate Dictionary describes Bacchanal as “drunken revelry or carousal” and “one who celebrates bacchanalia”- a roman festival of Bacchus celebrated with dancing, song and revelry. It involved excessive sexual indulgence, drunkenness and unrestrained behaviour.

In different cultures, bacchanal may be called different names, with some variations to suit the local situation, but the substance is the same old thing- a time to ‘free up’ and behave ‘wutlis’! For some, the more lewd the songs, the more enjoyable the Carnival. It seems like soca artistes try to outdo each other by composing and singing songs that are more sexually explicit or suggestive than the previous year. A mode of dress that is ordinarily scoffed at or deemed ‘bad dressing’ is accepted in the name of culture. Women walk through the streets almost naked in their bras and panties- decorated. After all, Carnival is seen as a time to do anything you want. Moral and social uprightness are thrown out of the window for a while.

Even some professed christians have fallen for the ‘culture’ story. To them, the Catholic Carnival band that was launched in Trinidad’ Carnival serves as justification that ‘there is nothing wrong with Christians celebrating Carnival’. Well, that is no example of Christian behaviour. It is just an example of the hypocritical and unholy influence of false religion on society. One just has to study her significant support for and involvement in Carnival to understand that that move by those Catholics in Trinidad is not surprising. The Catholic Church has practically christianized every pagan/unholy festival. Some research on the role of the Catholic Church in Carnival should be sufficient to inform sincere hearts.

Carnival-Bacchanal is not a festivity to be celebrated by followers of Jesus Christ. As a Christian, Carnival is not my culture-way of life. It is not the culture of Heaven. Bacchanal is not included in the way of life laid down by Jesus for His disciples. Paul, an apostle of Christ, tells us: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; … drunkenness, revelling, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

For the proponents of Carnival who reason on the basis of economics, I ask you to consider God’s promised blessings (including economic prosperity) on the condition of humility and obedience to His Commandments(Deut.28). God’s blessings upon this nation will not come as a result of Carnival celebration. Bacchanal is the culture of those who choose to walk ‘…in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revelling, banqueting, and abominable idolatries.” 1Peter 4:3

Ann-Marie Ballantyne

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