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What did Carnival mean to the people who took part in it?  In a sense the question is unnecessary.  Carnival was a holiday, a game, an end in itself, needing no explanation or justification.  It was a time of ecstasy, of liberation.  Carnival was, in short, a time of institutionalized disorder, a set of rituals of reversal.  Contemporaries called it a time of ‘madness’ in which Folly was King.  The rules of culture were suspended.

In ancient times Carnivals were a means of social liberation.  Individuals who were stuck within the confines of social constructions; the woman who couldn’t work and had to care for the family, the peasant with no money, it gave them the opportunity to turn their world upside.  It gave them the opportunity to be the person they wanted to be rather than the person society made them out to be.

Perhaps this adds to the beauty of the Carnival.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Twinkle.”


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