Many Latin American cities and towns spend the months leading up to Lent busily preparing the carnival celebrations that, for many observers and participants alike, are a spectacle of excesses of every type. Yet Carnival time, in its beginnings, had religious connections.
Carnem-levare, meaning “abandoning meat”, is the Latin root of the word carnival. And there is its link to the Catholic calendar and practices. It may have been only a day of celebration prior to Ash Wednesday, indulging in a more lavish meal before entering a period of fasting and abstinence. It is time for us to recover and refashion the intended meaning of carnival.