Carnival in Anguilla dates back to the year 1961, but the acknowledged date of the present festival is 1974. The wife of the then Head of State Mrs. Nora Evelyn decided that it would be beneficial for the island to have a Carnival.
In some way it was due to the fact that she was Trinidadian born and missing Trinidad Carnival. A committee was put together and with much planning a Mini Carnival was later held at the grounds of Valley Secondary School. The stage was set and the festival commenced with the sounds of bands playing calypso music and masqueraders dancing in merriment. The festivities came to premature death due to vehement opposition of some of the local churches. Carnival was banned for many years, but the desire to have a carnival never died in the hearts of the faithful original organizers. This desire to experience what other Islands were experiencing came with the restructuring of a new committee to investigate the matter. Ironically, out of a church bazaar came the Carnival that is today. The annual Anglican Bazaar was held on Emancipation Day (the 1st Monday in August) and the committee members who were also members of the Anglican Church decided to incorporate the Carnival with the bazaar. This was an ideal day because of the many visitors that returned home from overseas to participate in the Emancipation Day activities. Thus competitions were organized for calypsonians, music bands etc. It was a monumental success and the committee went on to organize it again the next year. Within the next few years under the umbrella of the Anguilla cultural and Social Society it was decided that the Carnival should be on a national scale and they set out to make it so amidst what seemed like insurmountable odds. Some of the members who were also members of the Anglican Church voted against a national festival and so disassociated themselves from the ACSS. This caused a split between the ACSS and the Anglican Church. They were no longer able to co-exist with the church's annual bazaar and so launched out on their own with plans to transform the Carnival into the national festival that they envisioned. In search of a place large enough to hold the many activities that was planned, the Landsome Dump (a burnt down school with all the debris still intact) was chosen and with no funding, very little manpower, but with a great desire they set out to change the "Dump" into Anguilla's Carnival Village. It took many months of labor and the assistance of other volunteers to get the facility prepared. With the help of Mr. Nazibo Butler, Anguilla's first Carnival Village was built on the site of the Lansome Dump where it still stands today as a monument of persistence and total commitment to culture.
The first carnival held after the construction of the Carnival Village lasted 2 weeks and saw the largest crowds ever to congregate on Anguilla's soil. The ACSS helped organized groups and encouraged villagers from all the villages to be a part of the festivities. The popularity of the festival spread and visitors came to see and be a part of this phenomenon that was taking place on the island. In 1978 the government took the reigns from the ACSS and handed it to the Anguilla Carnival Committee and provided funding for the committee. Since then the reigns has changed hands on numerous occasion but presently rests in the hands of the Tourist Board. Thought changes has been made over the years Carnival stills brings out the best in all who takes part, whether partying, masquerading in a beautiful costume or just looking on. Carnival time brings all together no matter the color, status or nationality, it is a time of wanton, fun filled days where every one think only of having fun. The problems of the day is cast aside as the nations people come together for a period of time when all ah we is one.
- No recently added or updated articles.