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If the Carnival as we know it today seems to be an entertainment, it has not always been so. Modern scholars are agreed that in the Carnival old common folk religion agrarian civilizations and for Claude Gaignebet who wrote: "The scope, in time and space, carnival parties forced us to think that this religion is old, although it is no less arbitrary to say the Neolithic and Paleolithic as the return to the eternal dawn of time".

Gaignebet continues his argument by pointing out what remains as signs of the ancient rituals of this primordial religion and forgotten:
"Is it really dangerous to assert that the day marked with a horned moon, Mardi Gras, is when one honors parade where beef and butchers and the cuckold (cuckold)? Is it much more bold to note that this new moon day is devouring the sun in the form of pancakes (which does not fail to ask a riddle concerning the future of this "host" popular and we smeared lunar Pierrot?
Is it extravagant to see that crazy Carnival (provided with their boots. Folis, lat) will follow in single file by blowing in behind (soufflaculs) and assume a coqueluchon, topped with a cap rooster head and protects the holder of pertussis?
Is it contradictory to point out that the same fools feed on flatulent foods? How not to recognize the desire for these "esventés", accumulate in them a breath, to control the output by avoiding coughing, and monitor using a bellows?"

These rituals of ancient agrarian cults are linked to the seasons and moon phases. No traditional peasant, where it may be, ignored the new moons, black or full moons. These rituals are then exercised in full force. The calendar was lunar. The ceremonies were held every forty days (time of a lunar month and a half).
Carnival is what remains of the feast marking the latest new winter moon, corresponding to the Mardi-Gras-Candlemas, which celebrates the ancient myth of the bear:
"Is celebrated mainly on that date déshibernation the bear.
This animal, carrying in her womb souls of the dead (the Bear déshibernation pet is known to Aristotle) then releases them. He is accompanied by his son, half man, half bear, wild man. The medieval tales of the Wild Man (Merlin) and John Bear, also called Jean Forty are the myths that relate to that date.
The bear then fight against the lunar characters and black smears."

In our modern calendar, it is a solar calendar, one can notice the fixed feasts and movable feasts.
Fixed holidays are related to the solar calendar Christmas, Candlemas, the St. John (solstices, equinoxes).
The movable feasts are linked to the lunar calendar, mainly Mardi Gras, Easter and Ascension.
Christianity has solved the persistence of celebrations related to lunar and solar calendars (so pagan holidays) by making them coincide with Christian holidays.
In the French Antilles and the Caribbean in general, the carnival is introduced by European colonizers.
We will dedicate ourselves to observe the extent carnival survivals in Guadeloupe reflect the original sources and to what extent one can speak of symbolic appropriation and syncretism.
Michel BOUSSAT wrote:
"Introduced early in white immigration, reserved only for the rich settlers, the Carnival of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries gave rise to sumptuous masked receptions.
Gradually, the slaves were allowed to organize, in turn, festivities, discrete and modeled on those of their masters, during the days before Lent.

The polyculturalité rigor, is originant in the complex settlement colonies, prints Caribbean Carnival specific staining. Without repeating the history of the settlement of the French West Indies, one can simply point out that if the majority of the population is black, the 95% black include extremely varied racial phenotypes, from almost white (chabin) to the "negro congo" through the "red" (supposed descendant of the first inhabitants of the island, Caribbean and Arawaks) and the "coolie" (from the south-western India).
In the early days of the popular Carnival, were tolerated two or three day festival during which slaves could express in the background of the classic European model, some of their traditions, dances or songs, totally prohibited elsewhere. Slaves and finding a way to make fun of their masters, dare mimic some event that made headlines. This was only probation and the Commander was responsible for maintaining good order. This former slave, became a postage partner of his master, repressed everything that could sound too subversive and especially the original African dances, carrying both a socio-political language - the négrité - and a religious message - animism intolerable for those who had tried to impose Catholicism as the only spiritual expression. Despite their progressive transformations, these dances had a restorative function of the lost identity of the people reduced to slavery.
So we'll try to catalog the survivals of traditional carnival in Guadeloupe, and establish the continuing connection with the original rituals, or their own specificity.


The Masquerade Bands

The terminology "mass" will be used throughout this article. The word Creole has the advantage of referring to both the mask itself, but also participating in the parade, with or without a mask.
In the organization of European carnivals, the guild of butchers played an obvious key role in celebrations marked by abundant consumption of meat. It is significant that the group that left the deepest Guadeloupe footprint and recognized as the most authentic is just a bunch of mass whose main leaders were butchers or at least of indivi¬dus who gravitated around what was then called "meat market" MASS iN SAINT-JEAN. It was actually mass Mokafa the name of their leader. Saint-Jean-legged mounted on his motorcycle generally open the passage to the group.
Bands mass, consisting of fifteen participants roamed the city, beating their drums and wore various disguises.

A MASS FWET (whip masks)

Often dressed in shirts and trousers madras fabric, encagoulée head and masked, they roam the streets and are violently cracking their whips on the floor leading to the beat of drums, the crowd away with threatening air.
The musical group is made up of percussion: A bass drum, a bass drum, a drum solo, it brought to the armpit, the other at the hip. These drums are made from tin barrels recovered.
Their shape and rhythm employed attest to the African influence.

The whip meanwhile, has always been linked to carnivalesque rites:
"The Lupercalia are explained as follows. In the reign of Romulus Roman are hit infertility. Juno-Lucina is consulted in a wood of the Esquiline." Mothers of Lazio, a shaggy goat you fruitful, "replied the oracle, fortunately interpreted by a sign. He sacrificed a goat, a whip made of the skin of the victim, and women obedient to the order of Lucina, come to offer his shots. They are thus made mothers. substitution honors the Latin sophisticated, but it can not fool; it is the origin of carnival dressed as goats, wolves (Luperci) that fertilized women."
On every continent, in agrarian civilizations, to ensure good harvests, the fertility of women and cattle, the men hit the ground with flails, whips and even the feet during plowing dance .
"The earth is beaten with the feet especially, but also sticks, scourges, such as to force the womb after almost raped and brutalized. This practice, attested from ancient times, giving rise to essentially rhythmic musicality."
Women are flogged and widely sprayed with water and this custom still persists in some European countries.
It is clear that the mass whip offer the example of a symbolic reappropriation. The whip tool fertilization and fertility symbol is interpreted in the Caribbean context as a symbol of slavery. Mass brandishing their whips refer to their recent history and clear that they in turn are the masters whips.

A MASS Kongo, NEG GWO SIWO (large negroes syrup) or A MASS GOUDWON (tar masks)


Le kongo (le chanteur Hipomen Leauva).
Photo : C. Geber.

Dressed in "Konoka" (field worker pants), shorts, wearing old coats, or simply hide sex, Kongo are anointed on all visible parts of the body of a mixture of molasses and soot. They head covered melon hats, caps, red caps.
"With achiote they blush mouth that is like a san¬glante spot, language, they continue to shoot, and, armed with a simple loincloth, perform a dance made obscene gestures and movements where they are going to mimic the act of reproduction."
This description of LABROUSSE is similar to that of Roger FORTUNE:
"Two men carrying two blackened sticks which they each hold one end, settled in the middle of the circle. They lower the bars, keeping them parallel to the ground to allow a child to ride des¬sus by placing one foot on each of them. Cupid black, barefoot, with only his arms for pendulums, he began his aerial dance. Grinning, constantly pulling the tongue, bloody stain on his face blackened, his contortions follow the slightest variations in the pace of the drum . the bars on which he stands in balance are maintained horizontal rigoureuse¬ment while their spacing and height are subject to sudden changes."

The musical group is composed of a ka player (big drum) beating his hands the instrument held between his legs, while a Bwake (another musician) is at the back and hits the fund to with chopsticks.
The rest of the group includes a low drum, the eye-chas and wawi (long bamboo notched transversely with one end resting on the ground and rubbed with a baguette)
These mass Kongo were the subject in recent years very meaningful interpretations of the social climate and the search for identity.
Thus we read in the writings of Nadya BELAIR "In the collective unconscious Guadeloupe, congo is very dark negro, wild This negative image of Africa is a relic of colonialism that has always endeavored to us. present the African as different from us ... Kongo made arrangements to be really scary and shaggy and terrorized children. Surprising that in a country where 90% of the population is black African, we have fun to be afraid."
If it is certain that our society has resulted in these masks blackened soot "congo", it is also certain that this mask completely blackened with soot is present in the carnival under the name "Neg Gwo Siwo" well before the arrival of "free" Congolese in Guadeloupe in 1860, after the abolition of slavery (1848).
Kongo complexion achiote. Photo: C. Geber.

In the European tradition is remembered as the founder of the carnival is the myth of the bear or wild man comes out of his cave February 2 and blackened with soot people met, with the aim to accelerate the arrival of spring. A Prats-de-Mollo, in Upper Vallespir, this custom is still alive.
Again it is interesting to see how an old carnival myth (mythical wild man) telescopes with the equally legendary African wild man: congo, such as Caribbean récem¬ment out of slavery but is already considered the different feeling 'African newcomer. The investigation into the Congo (the country and man) led by Laurent Farrugia with his final-year students on the occasion of the coming of Tchikaya U Tam'si in Guadeloupe in 1987 is particularly revealing in this regard.


  kongo teint au roucou. Photo : C. Geber.

A MASS MIWA (mirrors masks)

This tradition is perpetuated by the mass of Vieux-Fort. The costumes made in bright fabrics or madras cover the entire body. The head is also hidden under a hood and surmounted by a conical cap originally decorated with peacock feathers. This cap can be smaller and is then called "toque". The faces are hidden under a mask. Mirror fragments decorate the costume and headdress.
The musical group is composed of fifes, drums Basque struck with mallets and sticks.
We must see the use of the mirror the sign of Janus, the god with two faces, a symbol of change and mutation, which gives its name in January, the first month of the year, one that looks exactly the grinning past year and laughing coming year.



Mass à toque
Mass à toque de Vieux-Fort. Ph. : C. Geber.


Mass a ruban
Mass à ruban revisité par "Anthorium". Photo : J. Cilirie.

These mass often wore bright costumes and also adorned with mirrors. Wearing huge hats in the halfpipe, they sang accompanied by tambourines and flutes. Their dance was to turn the foot of the mast by braiding around it long colored ribbons attached to the ridge. This custom is found in French Provence but also in China and in many other parts of the world. You have to see it with the matt painted a phallic symbol associated with rites of fertility. We remember that in Guadeloupe this dance was often practiced by people of Indian origin. Nowadays these mass appear only very occasionally in the carnival.

MASS FOR MO (masks to death)


Mas a la mo
Mas à la mort. Photo : J. Cilirie.
Mas a la mo
Mas à la mort. Photo : F. Platdasz.

Wrapped in large white sheets, wearing balaclavas, they can also be dressed in black tights on which is painted a white skeleton on the shoulders a white cape.

They wore once, at the end of a stick, a gourd lit from within and with holes for the nose, eyes and mouth.
Uttering mournful cries, they pursued the people we met, especially women, to prick them with a needle. This game is obviously linked to a fertility rite. It is interesting to note that it is death that makes act of fertilization.

The presence of the dead, death and devils is always effective in the Caribbean carnivals.

In Florence in the late fifteenth century, the painter Vasari reports seeing a macabre carnival triumph developed in the greatest mystery by the painter Piero di Cosimo:
"This huge chariot drawn by advanced buffalo, black color showing the bones and the white cross which he had sown. At the top was the gigantic representation of death, holding his scythe in hand, surrounded by tombs that 'at every station we saw yawn and whose characters came out covered with a dark cloth on which were painted the bones of the chest arms and legs. skull masks to remotely followed these fantastic floats and renvoyaient half to all those pale skeletons, all these funeral draperies distant glow of their torches.


A MASS KON'N (horned masks)


Mass a kon'n
Mass à cornes de la tradition. Ph. : C. Geber.
Mass a kon'n (Voukoum)
Mass à cornes revisité par Voukoum. Ph. : C. Geber.

He wears a green garment made of dried banana leaves, is surrounded by a rope or chain held by a sidekick. Horned Man struggles and tries to escape.

This mass is in the oldest tradition in ancient Egypt, the Apis bull, symbol of virility and reproduction, walked in the fields with the sacred boat of Isis and Osiris. The latter being the incarnation of the creative force of life. Women accompanied the march of obscene songs by exhibiting objects shaped phallus.
This symbol of virility and the survival of a phallic ritual is constant in Antigua where we observed in 1985, an old woman participating in the parade "Jouve", showing off, strapped on his lower abdomen, a huge wooden phallus that she caressed with both hands without the crowds seem shocked.

The horns themselves, draw a half moon or crescent moon reminds the new Mardi Gras moon.
In parallel we can recall the manifestation of "bèf chapé" (escaped beef): Practiced until the 50s, was an ox through the streets, held by ropes, they occasionally allowed the animal released to outline some kicking and threatening encornades.
"In 1739, butchers boys are looking forward to the fat ox Day. The day before the Carnival Thursday, they gather and walk through the town carrying an ox on the head a branch of cherry laurel. It is covered with a carpet that serves as cover. on his back is holding a child adorned with a blue ribbon spent scarf, holding a golden scepter and a sword. This child is the king of the butchers ... As for the beef itself, after having accomplished his traditional walk, he was taken to slaughterhouses, where he awaits his unfortunate fellow, stars processions of Monday and Shrove Tuesday. once assembled, they are alternately stunned, bled, skinned, cut to be sold in small pieces the great gourmets.


Traditionally called the "dance Marianne". It was a scene mimicked by two characters, one representing the tamer and the other bear, accompanied by a flute player, scene reported by Graziella BONTEMPS in parallel Review No. 4-1965, we remember that this scene was also represented in the traditional carnival in Guadeloupe. This carnival disappeared in the current scene does not show fewer transmission in the traditional carnival in Guadeloupe, the founding myth of the Indo-European carnival.

Mass Hangnion


Mass a Hangnion
Costume végétal. Photo : J. Cilirie.

Dressed in rags sewn onto any old garment, it seems to be a stylized vegetal suit already described in the mass horn. It is closer to the colorful costumes of the characters found in European carnivals and that can be stored in the family of so-called harlequins "crazy colorful". It refers to the leafy man and the wild man. This myth of an initial ancestor whose monstrous half-animal half-human origin through all mythologies.


MOKO ZOMBIE or ANGLE BEKI SU (English on crutches)


IIntroduced in the French Antilles, it seems, after the First World War, from Brazil after Graziella Bontemps (9), and English islands according LABROUSSE:
"These are men dressed as women, masked, on stilts, decorated with a hairstyle similar to a hennin unveiled. They dance to the sound of the triangle, the tambourine and accordion, and then make the quest." (4)
They hold an umbrella they use by opening it to reap the fruit of their quest thrown balconies.
This figure is a perfect example of syncretism, since it combines the rotator dancers on West Africa stilts and female costume worn by a transvestite.
The cap and the stilts are a sign that the Carnival has allowed an African tradition to speak. As for the transvestite he can address the central theme of reversal that we will find with WEDDINGS BURLESQUES and MAKOUMÈS.

Isidore Guimba, dernier Moko-Zombie. Ph. collection Fortune.


MASS SAL (sales masks)

Small groups of masked, hitting with sticks on metal cans, which showed the curious, against coins, often scatological or phallic objects walked in old shoe boxes.


This is a group highly specialized in the representation of a street theater scene of the murder of a prince by a highwayman.
Consisting of four stanzas of nine to ten feet, two for the murderer and two for the unfortunate prince, unknown origin of this song sung on the melodramatic mode, probably left Guadeloupe (it does not know in Martinique) by French street performers on tour before the war of 1914. It is in any case quite amazing that the text preserved only orally and played by ordinary people (and only by them), has been transmitted without change deep.
The tradition of Commedia deI Arte is obvious (use of masks ...) and we consider rereading the text transcribed by Roger Fortune and his description of the costumes at Harlequin (Prince) and Francatripa (l assassin), but also to all street plays performed in carnival time in the Middle Ages (or carnival sottie) and put in the presence Prince Carnival and Lent his rival and enemy. The ritual murder was playing it was mostly followed a ruling by a people's court which Roger FORTUNE reveals in his article reproduced in this book, he actually stood after.
In this connection we may refer to CARNIVAL AND POPULAR THEATRE at the end of the Middle Ages by Jean Claude Bailly IN.
The melody of the verses sung without accompaniment, made for its irresistibly reminds the rhythm of tango, from there to imagine that the actors in question were returning from an American tour and perhaps Argentina .....
Apart from these bands mass, can be observed less structured groups appear particularly during Shrovetide.



Mariage burlesque
Mariage burlesque - les frères Botino. Ph. collection Anselme.

The theme is that of mismatched couples whose wedding having sinned before marriage," which celebrates Lent before Easter supports an advanced pregnancy, "Yet it is in white with veil and wreath of orange blossoms, despite his huge belly and demonstrations of impending birth.
In this ridiculous couple is usually a man disguised as a woman who plays the role of the bride, while a very tiny girl dressed as a man, is the groom. A long procession follows the couple who, along the way, meeting the Civil Status Officer unites them and the priest who blessed them. "(10)
Rites special foie Monday, they were intended to cause the fertility of new unions: In many communities of collective marriages took place Sunday fat. Children are born at the beginning of winter. Customs now lost in Europe but persist among nomadic peoples and among the Fulani where young men dress, make up and sing and dance to be chosen by young women, at large gatherings at the passage of the season dry in the rainy season.
The text of Maria Theresa LUNG-FOU notes transvestite girls boy. There is an innovation compared to the carnival tradition that was not the case of women, the latter being primarily spectators.

Inversion sexuelle
Inversion sexuelle. Photo : J. Cilirie.

"The theme is that of mismatched couples whose wedding having sinned before marriage," which celebrates Lent before Easter supports an advanced pregnancy, "Yet it is in white with veil and wreath of orange blossoms, despite his huge belly and demonstrations of impending birth.
In this ridiculous couple is usually a man disguised as a woman who plays the role of the bride, while a very tiny girl dressed as a man, is the groom. A long procession follows the couple who, along the way, meeting the Civil Status Officer unites them and the priest who blessed them. "(10)
Rites special foie Monday, they were intended to cause the fertility of new unions: In many communities of collective marriages took place Sunday fat. Children are born at the beginning of winter. Customs now lost in Europe but persist among nomadic peoples and among the Fulani where young men dress, make up and sing and dance to be chosen by young women, at large gatherings at the passage of the season dry in the rainy season.
The text of Maria Theresa LUNG-FOU notes transvestite girls boy. There is an innovation compared to the carnival tradition that was not the case of women, the latter being primarily spectators.



Dressed as sailors, simulating drunkenness, these mass swear in a pure fantasy English and jostling people. On their way they distribute the funny money.
Already endangered in 1935 after LABROUSSE these figures, however, persisted into the sixties.
We remember "Toussine paper oil" victim of these drunken sailors: waitress "At Godmother" bar Victory Square, she had accepted as payment for the consumption of one of those bands tickets made the with oiled paper (such kraft paper).
Was it the memory of the British occupations whose last dated back to 1815, or marine passage in Guadeloupe after the opening of the Panama Canal?



Bwa-Bwa. Au premier plan : G. Cornély. Ph. Collection R. Giraud.

Figures almost disappeared today parodies gigantic babies are signs of a reversal of the large and small. These figures characteristic of the Feast of Fools.
"Among other facetious disguises, we find that of a man who carries in her arms a new disguised as adult born, a very large child whose humor is self even. Generally chosen for this role a good man bearing; a pacifier in the mouth, a kind of small crush on the head, a bib around the neck, placed in a car imitating a baby carriage, which grows so is it negates. age: the man is dressed as a child.
More profoundly, this inversion presupposes that a little child already has the size, strength, and other attributes of a man. Such is what this staging. "(1)
The state of childhood is assimilated to the new year and personified. The Nativity is associated with the birth of the sun (winter equinox December 21-22)
"If the little savage were left to himself, he retained all his imbecility and might reconcile to some because of the child in the cradle the violent passions of the man of thirty, he would twist the neck his father and sleep with his mother. "(Diderot's Rameau's Nephew)
The situation described by Diderot found in these disguises car¬naval so common, a child into a man. This huge child, we know from elsewhere. He that speaketh right away, claiming to drink at birth is Gargantua, the Carnival child.



Vaval dans son cercueil
Vaval dans son cercueil. Ph. : C. Geber.


Vidé du mercredi des Cendres
Vidé du mercredi des Cendres. Photo : J. Cilirie.
Vidé du mercredi des Cendres (1960)
Vidé du mercredi des Cendres (1960). Ph. Collection R. Giraud.

Diminutive Creole Carnival, it is the personification of the carnival.
In ancient Mesopotamia, the Mediterranean Basin, the Aegean and throughout West Asia, the superposition of civilizations and influences gave rise to very similar cults. Gods or kings parody holders of all follies, all the debauchery, all sins, represented the faltering last year and had to be sacrificed after a mock trial. These rituals have been perpetuated by substituting sacrificed effigy.
This rite preserved in the Indo-European carnival, is still alive among us with the figure of Vaval. Formerly Capoline then referred to as the bwa-bwa of: It is represented as a model crafted using old padded clothes, wearing a sexual organ enlarged and worn either in a coffin or after a pole above the crowd.

It will be burned on Ash Wednesday, after a huge funeral called "empty." His ashes will be scattered to the wind. All participants are dressed in black and white, faces covered with ash or flour. The crowd of "servants" exclaiming "Vaval PA KITE NOU" (Vaval does not leave us !!)
It is often believed that black and white are the color of mourning. In fact these colors expressed in the carnival tradition lunar phases: white full moon and new moon black.


However, in the particular context of the West Indies as a ceremonial did not fail to be a symbolic reappropriation about which Michel BOUSSAT wrote:
"Nevertheless, as in other carnivals, incineration Vaval is charged with emotion that slips imperceptibly the heart of every player in great jubilation, and perhaps here more than elsewhere, because daily life is synonymous with rigor folk and control "Tchembé Red - No Molli." (Here stiff - not mollis) carries with it all the recommendations of resistance could require of a slave against the pain, frustration and the ever-present death and which alone could afford to join the valley of ancestors which he was forbidden to speak. Vaval him, will join the authorized carrier paradise miseries of men and this sacrifice is cultural roots, the symbol joining in the rite, the return of Myth, a day in the country of origin, there at the end of the ocean.

Enterrement de Vaval
Enterrement de Vaval. Photo : J. Cilirie.
Vaval Brûlé dans son cercueil
Vaval Brûlé dans son cercueil. Photo : F. Platdasz.
Vaval Brûlé dans son cercueil
Vaval Brûlé dans son cercueil. Photo : F. Platdasz.


Pierrot lunaire antillais
Pierrot lunaire antillais. Photo : C. Geber.
Pierrot lunaire antillais
Pierrot lunaire antillais. Photo : C. Geber.
Symboles de mort et de naissance
Symboles de mort et de naissance. Photo : J. Cilirie.



Ritual processions were held in the fields. Among the Egyptians, they were attached to the cult of Osiris, the Sun God, but the God of life and death against the vessel, the carrier Apis bull was dragged in procession, surrounded by the people of women exhibiting phallus. Among the Greeks and Romans such processions were connected to the cult of Dionysus / Bacchus, whose ship was called Carus Navalis.
Since these naval tanks had been wont to indulge in flour jets that had the function to operate soil fertility.
In Europe, the carnival parades of Mardi Gras, distant heirs of these ritual processions, we proceeded to throw gold coins by nobles eager to demonstrate their participation in the circulation of wealth, but also throw lead parts (innocent currency) real funny money which nevertheless retained the same symbolic function as flour jets.
One was conducting these jets with such violence that came gradually to replace these parts with confetti, first plaster and paper. This custom still persists in the carnival of New Orleans, where are now thrown the "duplication" of plastic or aluminum.
In Guadeloupe, it is said that the corsairs to return their shopping threw the crowd of white-hot parts.
However, during the parades of Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday, the usual jet parts or confetti was not retained by the jet against flour has long been practiced until it was banned in Pointe-à-Pitre by-law of 1 March 1977.

Mardi-Gras à Pointe-à-Pitre vers 1900
Mardi-Gras à Pointe-à-Pitre vers 1900. col. L. Collomb.
Mardi-Gras à Pointe-à-Pitre vers 1960
Mardi-Gras à Pointe-à-Pitre vers 1960. col. R. Giraud.
Les cuisinières dans le carnaval
Les cuisinières dans le carnaval. Photo : C. Geber.




La maffia
La maffia. Photo : J. Cilirie.

In the parades of Mardi Gras, contrasting with the exuberance of the other groups that are expressed through song, the rhythm of their percussion, chorus their horns, still observed today singularly silent groups and moving slowly : in the 80's they were called "mafias", wearing dark glasses, dark suits, hands slipped under the jacket, the movie mafiosi model.

All the legends about the origin of the music give them to be in silence.
"Being master of the journey of the soul, both underground and supra-celestial, make them perform this journey that the center of the world, leading to the empyrean heaven, at the Milky Way, it is from this point of silence that is the absolute center of the earth along the entire musical scale, and finally reach a new point of silence. it is, across its full, ask two infinite silence.
The silence of these groups can be interpreted as having a function to open the gates of hell to allow movement of the dead souls.


Démons silencieux et puants
Démons silencieux et puants. Photo : C. Geber.
The Conclusion

While not exhaustive, this catalog costumes and mass bands and carnival games in the Guadeloupe tradition requires that the transmission of carnival rites took place successfully in the Caribbean polycultural universe.
However, this transmission was not experienced passively, on the contrary, and in many cases these customs were the object of an interpretation allowing the people to reclaim rituals and symbols from its historical experience.
We talked about that the coincidences between troubling for the rite founder of the wild man and Congo, mass in Saint John and the guild of butchers ... It was also noted syncretism of some costumes that mix Europe, Africa and Eastern.



octobre 1991
Membre du Groupement pour le Développement du Carnaval et des Fêtes (GDCF) depuis 1975, Président en 1984; instigateur de sa transformation (1989) en Fédération Guadeloupéenne du Carnaval (GDCF-FGC). Président de l'association CHICO-REY (1990), Louis COLLOMB après avoir été 1er Secrétaire puis Vice-Président du Conseil de la Culture de l'Education et de l'Environnement est aujourd'hui 1er Vice-Président du Conseil Economique et Social Régional et Secrétaire de l'ARTCHIPEL Scène Nationale de la Guadeloupe.




(1) Le carnaval de Claude GAIGNEBET et Marie Claude FLORENTIN. Editions Payot 1979.
(2) Vaval le carnaval des Antilles et ses spécificités de Michel BOUSSAT, Corine CASTEL-KIRGUS et Claude GUINARD in Le Carnaval la Fête et la Communication, Actes des Rencontres Internationales de Nice, 8 au 10 Mars 1984. Editions Serre-¬UNESCO.
(3) La Symbolique des musiques de carnaval de Jean-Loup FONTANA. in Le Carnaval la Fête et la Communication. Actes des Rencontres Internationales de Nice, 8 au 10 Mars 1984. Editions Serre-UNESCO.
(4) Deux Vieilles Terres Françaises (Guadeloupe et Martinique) de Paul LABROUS¬SE. Edition à compte d'auteur 1935.
(5) Mass a Kongo de Roger FORTUNE in Revue Guadeloupéenne.
(6) Nadya BELAIR in Magwa N° 4 Février-Mars1982.
(7) Scènes de chasse en Toscane, le Carnaval de Piero di Cosimo de VOVELLE Michel in Le Carnaval la Fête et la Communication. Actes des Rencontres Internationales de Nice, 8 au 10 Mars 1984. Editions Serre-UNESCO.
(8) Le boeuf gras de Jean Dominique LAJOUX in Carnaval et Mascarades Editions Bordas 1988.
(9) Souvenirs de Graziella BONTEMPS in Revue Parallèles N° 4/1965.
(10) Le Carnaval aux Antilles de Marie Thérèse JULlEN-LUNG-FOU. Editions Désormeaux 1979.
(11) Hommes sauvages et travestis: Absence de femmes? de Martine GRINBERG in Le Carnaval la Fête et la Communication. Actes des Rencontres Internationales de Nice, 8 au 10 Mars 1984. Editions Serre-UNESCO.


HEERS Jacques: Fête des fous et Carnaval Editions Fayard 1983.
GAIGNEBET Claude et LAJOUX J. Dominique: Art profane et religion populaire au Moyen-Age Editions PUF 1985.
LADURIE LEROY: Le carnaval de Roman Editions Payot 1979.
ORLOF Alexandre: Carnaval Fournier diffusion 1982.
OSBORNE Mitchell L. et LABORDE Errol: Mardi Gras Picayun press 1981 Nouvelle Orléans.
RABELAIS Oeuvres complètes Seuil 1973
SHAITANE : Carnaval Editions Fernand Nathan1979.




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