Carnival celebrated during CARIBBEAN American Heritage Month
Leonardo Lopez – Contributing Writer
Whether it is in South America, the Caribbean, Canada or even right here in South Florida, when flashing feathers and lively drum music begin to the fill the air, the locals head to the streets because they know what is going on- Carnival! Carnival is a time of festivities and feasting celebrated before the season of Lent. Celebrated around the world, the cradle of the “modern carnival” is in the Caribbean islands (specifically, in Trinidad and Tobago). Although Broward College is hosting events remotely, it ends June by keeping the spirit of the festival alive while also informing students who might be oblivious to these celebrations and their nearby presence.
Concluding Broward College’s celebration of Caribbean American Heritage Month, Student Life held a virtual seminar on June 30 which focused on Carnival.
Hosted by Tiffany Erving, the Student Life coordinator at BC’s South Campus, the seminar was created and presented in a PowerPoint format by Dr. Rhonda Bobb, professor of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and Student Life Skills (SLS) at the college’s South Campus. This presentation was held in honor of Caribbean American Heritage Month which highlights the contributions of Caribbean Americans and Caribbean culture.
“Anytime I do an event, my primary goal is representation-to acknowledge our [diverse] students and say that they matter; their heritage, background and culture is significant here in the United States and in our campuses. In the case of Carnival, I also wanted people of other backgrounds to be aware of its presence in other parts of the world. They all have the same origin, and they even have the same influences. By doing so, we realize that we have more in common with each other than differences,” Bobb said.
The 45 students were treated to a presentation which highlighted the history and diverse customs of the vibrant festival around the world while also discussing the South Floridian Carnival experience. With pictures of bright feathered headdresses and videos of people dancing to the traditional music of Carnival, students were also able to view a glimpse of these festivities. “I liked the costumes that were shown during the presentation, I think it would be cool if I could try one on. The bright colors create a feeling of something fun and exciting,” said Anna Romanenko, a first-year student at BC.
“I didn’t know anything about the Carnival, but I learned many interesting facts. I have never celebrated the Carnival, but after learning about it, I would love to!
It seems like the Carnival is in- credibly fun, I would love to get to know those traditions, wear that colorful costume and get that unique experience,” Romanenko added.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic and the social distancing protocols, Broward College held several Carnival related events. These include having students make headpieces out of different assortments of feathers and beads, and food events in which the attendees got to taste food of different Caribbean islands. However, this is the first event that explores the topic of the history of the festival.
Regarding the future of Carnival themed events in Broward College, Bobb said that she wanted to have a full screening of a documentary titled “Mas: A Carnival story.” The film was made by Jessy Schuster, a producer, journalist and friend of Bobb. The feature focuses on retracing the common link between Caribbean carnival traditions with emphasis on Trinidad and Tobago and Guadeloupe (where Schuster is from). Additionally, Bobb said that she would like to plan a “mini-Carnival” for Broward College.