What's Carnival About?

In case you are wondering, the rhythmic drumming was by the Ipswich Samba School - not anything to do with Eastern religion!    Compared to the colourful carnivals in South America and the Caribbean, Felixstowe's Carnival is simple, but 2014s will be remembered as one of the best carnivals in recent years.

The idea of the video was to explore where carnival comes from and it was no surprise to find it had Christian origins.   In Catholic countries, carnival is a pre-Lenten celebration; in Britain, Shrove Tuesday is a relic of these celebrations. Mardi-Gras festivals in North and South America are known as "Grey Tuesday" because it's the last day of revelry before Lent.  Carnival is time for fun, music, dancing, enjoyment before the more austere fasting during the 40 days before Easter. 

Too often carnival descended into a rowdy celebration and many modern carnivals have moved along way from having a Christian meaning - certainly in Britain where modern carnivals are purely secular and usually held during holiday periods, such as in Felixstowe. But they all have the same elements:  procession, music, dancing, charitable giving, community involvement.   So for Felixstowe, the Lent and Easter connection is gone.  

The word carnival itself means "goodbye meat" as most Lenten observance meant a fasting from meat.  That seems a bit austere but in Europe where carnivals started, the late winter and early springtime was a period of the year when winter stores were running low and people needed a more austere diet to survive until spring.

From a Christian point of view, it was a reminder to people that Easter was coming.  Carnival is a time of enjoyment before a time of reflection of the fact that God was bringing us something that when complete, would give a vitality to life that the human race  did not have before.  Easter represents an expression of God's love in the death of Jesus for us on the cross and His rising agsain.   Through that God has opened a way bey which we can find forgiveness and come into relationship with Him.

That's why life is precious: because we are precious to God and it's through Jesus we find life and hope.  Jesus said:  I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.  (John 10:10  World English Bible)