The word carnival came from the Italian carnelevare, which means to remove meat. Carnival was a period of celebration leading up to Lent when one did not eat meat. Since the mid 1400s, farmers across Europe celebrated this spring time event as a renewal of life.
The festival known as carnival has been a tradition in Trinidad for more than 200 years.
This began at a time when Trinidad was a Spanish colony. However, between 1783 and 1833 it was the belief that the French inspired the Carnivals to progress from Cannes Brulees into fetes of national importance, similar to Mardis Gras.
Ignacio Jose Bodu Town Councillor and Merchant is credited with holding the first competition for the Best Dressed Bands and Individuals. This all happened about 1900 and Papa Bodu, as he was more commonly known, was fundamental in changing Carnival from a violent experience into a cultured event.
At this time some bands boasted a membership of 30 to 40 men and women, and all the better bands had their Kings and Queens.