Our Readers' Opinions
July 5, 2013

Carnival – whose festival?

Fri July 5, 2013

Editor: The time of year is here which revellers would desire to have all year round. A time of “feting, drinking, masquerading, getting on bad” some agree. Others who would like all Vincentians to accept it or keep silent would call it “culture – expression of creativity and art”. Just a small search into the history of carnival would teach us that carnival is really about drunkenness and lewdness, when universal licentiousness prevails.{{more}} People feel ‘free’ to do what they don’t usually do throughout the year, e.g. walk in the street in decorated bras and underwears, increase alcohol intake and get involved in illicit/increased sexual activity – all in the name of having fun.

No matter how much effort is made to clean up or “nice up” carnival, it remains an ungodly festival, tied to the ancient roman celebration called Bacchanalia, which was celebrated in honour of the god Bacchus – the god of drunkenness and sexual orgies. Do you wonder why carnival is sometimes called bacchanal? Although some would like to tell us about the so-called positives of carnival, many artistes describe its real nature with fitting lyrics such as “rum, till the carnival done…carnival time is bacchanal time…a time to jump and leh go and get on bad…”. Of course, some lyrics are too smutty to repeat!

A few months ago, someone alerted me of some photos he had seen of carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Women were scantily dressed in so-called creative costumes. The private parts were only covered by a painting or some shells. Images of Brazil’s carnival leave us to conclude that it’s even “normal” to have sex in the streets during carnival time.

I understood the individual’s disgust, but knowing the origin and nature of carnival, I was hardly surprised. Though many Vincentians may be quick to say “well, we are not like Brazil,” I ask, how different are the carnival activities here? Oftentimes, the more smut a song contains, the more well-liked it is…the scantier a woman dresses, the more applause she receives and the ‘wildest’ soca artiste gets the most followers.

As a Christian, I know carnival is not the culture of the Christian. All Christians know that too! The Bible is very clear in calling people away from such riotous behaviour. Revelry is named among the “works of the flesh” that disqualify us from entering heaven if we don’t repent of them. In Galatians, the apostle Paul informs us that they which partake of such things – “…drunkenness, revelling (e.g carnival) …shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).
Instead of engaging and indulging in such sinful activities, Our Creator invites us to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit by growing in grace and His knowledge – preparing to live in heaven’s culture, where there is pure lasting pleasure and joy. And He did not give us creativity and talents to build costumes to half-clothe the bodies of men and women to parade in the streets. He did not give talents for men to put together songs to lustfully exalt women’s body parts and vice versa. The truth is, God is not glorified in carnival festivities. Even persons (e.g. past calypsonians) who were once involved in carnival would tell you “I change my life…I am now singing for Jesus…I not involved in carnival anymore…I am a Christian now.” This is because they know, by conviction, that carnival has nothing to do with God and Christianity. It exalts creation and rejects the Creator and His instructions.

Ann-Marie Ballantyne