Trisban at Carnival
by Freddie Clegg
Trisban : Culture & Customs
Trisban at Carnival
The Trisban Carnival (“Carnavali”) held each year in April has its origins in the celebration of the arrival of Spring. In Trisbanian tradition, Carnavali is a celebration of change, a rejoicing in the turn around of the year from the dark and cold of winter to the on coming of the light and warmth of summer. Men represent the forces of winter, stability and order, while women represent the forces of spring and are seen as the agents of change and development. Carnavali is a time in which order is subverted in a playful way. The natural respect that Trisbanian have for order constrains the extent to which this happens but even so Carnavali is a time where “anything goes” and is one of the few occasions in the year when a woman may take the initiative in the matter of personal relationships.
Historically both men and women used to be masked in public during carnival events. Nowadays, of course, women are veiled in public at all times but men still mask for carnival.
The events surrounding Carnavali include both public and private events. Public events include open air gatherings, parades or balls sponsored by various trade guilds, and the final Grand Parade through the centre of the city and a final open air party. Private events include parties with a Carnavali theme and may range from a simple gathering of a few neighbours to the most extravagant parties hosted by the Trisbanian elite. At all of them, though, the custom has grown up for men and women to adopt a topsy-turvy approach to their participation. A well-borne woman is likely to appear in the garb of a servant, a servant in the finest robes of her employer; a captain of industry or a politician might appear as a ruffian, while the house-boy of a grand household would be dressed in his master’s finery. While a Carnavali event might allow ostentatious dress, there is no guarantee that the hostess of a ball or dinner is not dressed as, or even acting as, one of the servants (indeed, it is likely!)
Playful behaviour is the norm during Carnavali. While drunkenness is frowned on at other times in Trisban, over indulgence at Carnavali events is not uncommon and is widely tolerated.
Sexual license is also a feature of Carnavali. Because of this, Carnavali events are some of the few occasions in Trisban when children would not normally be present with their parents. Traditionally husbands do not ask their wives what they have done and wives do not ask their husbands what they have done during carnival; it is sufficient that order is restored at the end of the week of Carnavali.
© Copyright Freddie Clegg 2008
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All Characters, Events & Locations Fictitious
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