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348 More Carnival
CleAnn talks more about the specifics of Carnival and its roots in her country.
Todd: What about the food, like are there certain kinds of food that you eat for Carnival?

CleAnn: Food... for Carnival, not particularly for Carnival, but Trinidad and Tobago as a whole has a kind of a distinctive type of food because we are mostly Africans and Indians, our food is always a mix of curry and spicy African foods, which is kind of strange. So, in Trinidad and Tobago we eat, as I said, very spicy foods and a lot of meat. We love meat in Trinidad. Actually, vegetarians, people are usually, it's a strange idea, sometimes. And, a lot of rice sometimes, and pasto.

Todd: So when is the next Carnival?

CleAnn: Next year, February, I don't know the exact dates. But it's always in, it's... if you check the Catholic calendar for Lent, it's always coinciding with that season. So, 'cause Ash Wednesday I think is the start of the Lenten season.

Todd: So what are the religious connotations to the Carnival and Catholicism.

CleAnn: I think it has lost all religious connotations. I think originally it was very religious because people, they would wear, like full dresses, women wear long dresses, and they parade the streets ringing bells, you know like the priests and incense, and things like that. But, now there's, it's no more of that. Now it's just basically a big party.

Religiously it... it becomes religious after carnival, when people go to church for ashes on Ash Wednesday. But I wouldn't say there's much religious significance. There may be originally when slavery was abolished, there may have been some spiritual significance for the freed African slaves, because Carnival was used for them as a time of celebration, of celebration of being free. So, they used to dance to a lot of their traditional drums and worshipped their traditional African gods and traditional religions were also... they were also praised and celebrated at the same time kind of as the Catholics would celebrate their Carnival mass at the time.

Todd: This is actually a holiday that's not just in Trinidad and Tobago. This in other countries as well, right?

CleAnn: Yeah, but I don't think it started in... I wouldn't say that it started in Trinidad, and... which is why I like to stress, to emphasize that I think the Catholic Church has a big part to play in it because you will find carnivals in those countries where Catholicism is very prominent. This is why Brazil even, they're Catholic, I think. And in Europe, there are many parades, they call them by different names, I know in Germany for example in Mainz, in the city of Mainz it's actually called Carnival also. And it developed from the Catholic... from a Catholic Church celebration, they also have Ash Wednesday celebrations. So I wouldn't say it started in Trinidad, but our particular version of it, with the African drumming, and our music, I think that's what makes it unique, although it is definitely present all over the world.

Todd: Okay, well, sounds good. Thanks.

CleAnn: No problem.