Enriching lives, connecting communities

Themes and Sections

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For Mardi Gras 2020 we are presenting the theme: The Story of Carnival

We shall be telling our version of the Story of Carnival, which starts in the springtime rituals of ancient Egypt, travels through classical Greece and Rome, is transformed into a decadent pre-Lenten feast by the Church in Europe, crosses the Atlantic with Columbus and the early colonists, is enriched by African, Indian and indigenous peoples’ cultural wealth, re-emerges in London as a celebration of Caribbean culture by post-war migrants, and becomes embedded into contemporary British culture.

We will produce a special historical section unique to the Isle of Wight, funded by the National Lottery Heritage fund, called A Rather Bewildering Spectacle (IW County Press review of 1888).  This section of our story will portray local carnival traditions (secular summer carnivals) using reminiscence and oral history techniques to gather inspiration. Local school children and families will be working with Carisbrooke Castle Museum and InspirEd Heritage to host carnival story gatherings with community elders.  These will be transformed by our artists working with the groups to create modern day re-imaginings of Island Carnival legends.  An exciting exhibition of this work is planned for September 2020 at Carisbrooke Castle Museum, and a new web resource, ‘IW Carnival Memories’ will be created to  become an enduring legacy.

You can view the full narrative, with all the sections of the parade illustrated here –

Mardi Gras 20 The Story of Carnival FINAL


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