Views #348 | Intermediate 4

More Carnival

CleAnn talks more about the specifics of Carnival and its roots in her country.
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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.

Learn vocabulary from the lesson!

not particularly


Not particularly for Carnival, but Trinidad and Tobago as a whole.

Particularly just mean especially, so not particularly means not especially. It is used to show emphasis. Notice the sample sentences:

  1. The city is not particularly known for its food.
  2. I am not particularly happy to be taking my vacation.



Trinidad has a distinctive type of food.

When something is distinctive, it is easy to tell from other things that are similar. The distinctive quality of something makes it easy to identify from other things. Notice the following:

  1. People from New York have a distinctive accent.
  2. He has a distinctive hairstyle. You can notice him from far away.

exact dates


I don't know the exact dates.

The exact date refers to a date on the calender. It refers to the day of the month and the day of the week. Notice the following:

  1. The exact date of the meeting has not been set.
  2. I think the exact date is Friday, March 3rd.

religious connotations


What are the religious connotations to the Carnival?

A connotation is a special hidden meaning. A religious connotation would be a hidden or unspoken reference to religion. Notice the following:

  1. The connotation of the white wedding dress is that the bride is pure.
  2. There are many religious connotations in the lyrics of the song.

spiritual significance


There may have been some spiritual significance for the freed slaves.

Significance just means importance, so if something has spiritual significance, then it is important for spiritual reasons. Spiritual refers to the feeling people get from religion, such as a feeling of love or happiness.


Catholicism is very prominent.


When something is prominent, it is very strong and important. In societies where Catholicism is prominent, that means the Catholic Church is very important in that society and has a lot of influence in local culture. Here are some sample uses of the word prominent:

  1. Family history in very prominent in political elections.
  2. The country lacks a prominent leader.

Vocabulary Quiz

distinctive • significance
prominent • connotations
exact date
  1. The movie had an R rating due to its sexual .
  2. The coach puts a lot of on playing to have fun, not to win .
  3. Most Asians think the rice in their country has a taste .
  4. Baseball terms, such as home run and stike out, are very in America English.
  5. The of the test has not been scheduled yet.

Answer the following questions about the interview.

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