Difference between revisions of "Carnival"

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'''''[[Cape Town Carnival]]''''' (Annually in March, Cape Town,  since 2012)  
'''''[[Cape Town Carnival]]''''' (Annually in March, Cape Town,  since 2012)  
'''[[The Color Run]]''' (Annually in December, Port Elizabeth, since 2014)
'''''[[The Color Run]]''''' (Annually in December, Port Elizabeth, since 2014)
'''''[[Deuriemikke Karnaval]]''''' (Annually in August/September, Pretoria)
'''''[[Deuriemikke Karnaval]]''''' (Annually in August/September, Pretoria)

Revision as of 05:28, 29 March 2019

Carnival is a term broadly referring to a specific kind of public event and entertainment.

Please note: Karnaval, the Afrikaans term for carnival, also occurs as the name of a South African stage play by Pieter-Dirk Uys. For more on the play go to the entry on Karnaval.

The term Karnaval also appears in a song by Afrikaans singer and actress Carike Keuzenkamp, called "Karnaval In Bloemfontein". The words of the song describe a festive parade and masquerade in the city, possibly the university Jool.

See also the entry on Festival

Origins and history

The event has its roots in a traditional Christian celebration which marks the beginning of Lent, the period of 40 days before Easter during which no meat is eaten. The word is thus derived from the Latin phrase "carnem levare" (to remove/set aside the meat).

The term became in turn carnevale in Italian, carnival in English, carnaval in Dutch, karnaval in Afrikaans, karneval in some instances in German, etc.). (Also referred to as Mardi Gras[1] in many instances). Most often associated with Christian festivities, notably Lent, though in some cases more broadly used to refer to other kinds street processionals and celebratory events, unrelated to religious celebrations or rituals.

The nature and form of Carnival

Carnival-like or carnival-style

Sometimes events are termed carnivals, simply because they display features associated with carnivals proper, for example street parades, exhuberant costuming, music and dance, face-painting , a celebratory atmosphere, and so on. In other cases one may find expressions such as carnival-like or carnival-style being used to describe the event and to indicate this.

Bakhtin and the idea of the carnivalesque

A term created by Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1975)[2] in works such as Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics (1929) and Rabelais and His World (1965), where he points out that in the carnivals of popular culture, social hierarchies of everyday life are profaned and overturned: fools become wise, kings become beggars, while opposites are mingled (for example fact and fantasy, heaven and hell). Most importantly, there are no hierarchical positions during carnival, ideologies that routinely inhabit people's lives, simply do not exist for the duration of the carnival.

This notion of an inverted or even egalitarian order, is immensely important in any discussion of something like the Mardi Gras in New Orleans (see August Staub, 1992, for example) and the Coon Carnival in 19th and 20th century Cape Town (see ***., 1999 for example).

Student carnivals

A special form of such activity is the annual festival or parade staged for charity by students at tertiary institutions in many countries. More commonly known as a Rag in English (referring to a programme of stunts, parades, and other entertainments organized by students to raise money for charity during "rag week", deriving from the notion of a "rag" as a boisterous prank or practical joke)[3], and a Jool in Afrikaans ("Jool" is related to the word "jolyt", derived from the Dutch word "jool", first found in the meaning of "a festival" or "jollification" in 1852.)[4]

However, some of these events have been dubbed a carnival or a karnaval (in Afrikaans) and immaterial of the term used, in form these events all display strong carnivalesque qualities, or at the very least are carnival-like in form. There are a few such instances in South Africa (see the listing below).

A partial list of carnivals and carnival-like events in South Africa

For more on the individual events listed here, click on the appropriate name to go to the entry in question.

Cape Minstrel Carnival (annually on 2 January, Cape Town) - also known as the Cape Carnival, Cape Town Minstrel Parade, the Kaapse Klopse or (historically) the Coon Carnival.

Cape Town Carnival (Annually in March, Cape Town, since 2012)

The Color Run (Annually in December, Port Elizabeth, since 2014)

Deuriemikke Karnaval (Annually in August/September, Pretoria)

Donkey Carnival (Annually at Albany Field, Grahamstown in December).

Durban Cultural Carnival (Annually in October, Durban)

Lof en Dank Karnaval (Bloemfontein, 2019)

eMzantsi Carnival (annually in December, Fish Hoek)

NG Kerk Hospitaalpark Karnaval (Bloemfontein, September 2018).

PUK Karnaval (Potchefstroom University, 1967-1987)

REDD'S Street Carnival. (Port Elizabeth)

Rhodes Carnival (Rhodes University, 2010)

Siyagiya Durban International Music and Cultural Carnival (December in Durban - 2012 and 2013)





Denis-Constant Martin. 1999. Coon Carnival. New Year in Cape Town, Past and Present. Cape Town: David Phillip Publishers.

August Staub[5]] (1992) ‘The social uses of festival: Transformation and disfiguration’ South African Theatre Journal (SATJ), Volume 6:1, pp. 4-24.



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