Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 16th 2015 Contents A27
Monday, February 16, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
In the 1950s, American movie studios thought
calypso might overtake rock and roll and made a
bunch of musicals which included the distinctive
rhythms. The scripts made vague references to
Trinidad, although it was hard to spot a real Trini
anywhere in the scenes.
In Spain, Ash Wednesday involves a funeral for a
rather smelly fish. Calypso in Greek means "to hide,"
"to conceal," or "to deceive"---which makes sense
because calypso is about saying something without
saying it. At least, it used to be.
Keep reading for 20 wacky and absolutely useless
Carnival facts, unless you are trapped ankle deep in
Weird Carnival facts
seasonal high waters in St
Mark s Square in Venice
next February and need to
start a conversation with
someone wearing a golden
1. Carnival in Croatia
involves the burning of
Pust, a puppet, usually the
effigy of some politician,
who is blamed for all the
bad things that happened in the preceding year.
2. The earliest local record of a kaisonian or chantuelle
is a slave named Gros Jean who belonged to a Diego
Martin estate owner called Begorrat. Gros Jean was
poisoned by one of Begorrat s wives which sent Begorrat
into days of rage and grief. He buried Gros Jean in the
3. Venice flooded the day Carnival 2015 celebrations
began, on February, with participants and tourists
using elevated walkways.
4. Carnival Tuesday in other countries is also called
Shrove Tuesday, shrove coming from the word "shrive
or "confess. It s also known as Pancake Day.
5. In Madeira, they eat "malasadas" on Fat Tuesday,
to use up the butter and sugar before the restrictions
6. People wore elaborate masks in and out of Carnival
in Venice and in the 14th-century, it was forbidden
to wear masks at night; later, masks were forbidden
in churches and convents.
7. Carnival in Germany is called the Fifth Season
and begins on November 11 at 11.11 a.m. and finishes
on Ash Wednesday. Most of the activities (floats, which
can be satirical and controversial, parades, dancing,
singing) take place on Rose Monday.
8. In the 1970s, the Notting Hill celebrations were
getting a reputation for disorderly conduct but Prince
Charles was one prominent figure who supported the
9. Papa Cochon (Daddy Pig) was a noted and feared
local 19th century kaisonian or chantuelle who was
also an obeah man who reputedly had the ability to
discover buried pirate gold for his masters.
10. In the 1957 movie Calypso Heat Wave, Maya
Angelou performed two numbers as "Miss Calypso"
in a fake Trinidad market scene.
11. In Brazil, the Carnival is a national holiday. In
Louisiana, Mardi Gras was declared a legal state holiday
12. In Venezuela, revellers like to throw water balloons,
some of which have been frozen, which puts the trendy
ice bucket challenge to shame.
13. The Quebec Winter Carnival is held every Feb-
ruary since 1955 and includes night parades, ice sculp-
tures, snow baths, sleigh rides, fireworks, and skating.
(Our hearts should go out to these people.)
14. Calypso is also a type of orchid, rose pink in
15. Carnival in Spain is a seven-day affair beginning
on Fat Thursday and climaxing with the Burial of the
Sardine on Ash Wednesday.
16. Collins English dictionary defines calypso as a
"popular type of satirical, usually topical, West Indian
ballad, especially from Trinidad, usually extemporised
to a percussive syncopated accompaniment.
17. According to vocabulary.com a steelpan is a deep
pan with a handle used for stewing or boiling.
18. American tough-guy actor Robert Mitchum
released an album Calypso---is like so in 1957.
19. The "hang was created in Switzerland in 2000
after its inventors studied our steelpan. Its shape is
convex, rather than concave.
20. In 2003, Unesco declared the Carnival of Bar-
ranquilla in Colombia one of the Masterpieces of the
Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Similar
entries include the Carnival of Binche in Belgium, and
the Diablada dance of Carnival in Oruro, Bolivia.
If you know why T&T traditions are not on the list,
before Turkish coffee and after the Argentinian tango,
India s Ramleela, and Tibetan opera, please tell me at
While Trinidadians are partying under the sun on Carnival Tuesday, people across
the UK anticipate the end of winter and celebrate Shrove Tuesday by eating
pancakes and having pancake races. PHOTO COURTESY DEMOTIX
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