Carnival typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, masks, and a public street party. People wear masks and costumes during many such celebrations, allowing them to lose their everyday individuality and experience a heightened sense of social unity. Excessive consumption of alcohol, meat, and other foods proscribed during Lent is extremely common. Other common features of carnival include mock battles such as food fights; social satire and mockery of authorities; the grotesque body displaying exaggerated features, especially large noses, bellies, mouths, and phalli, or elements of animal bodies; abusive language and degrading acts; depictions of disease and gleeful death; and a general reversal of everyday rules and norms. Carnival is a Western Christian festive season that occurs before the liturgical season of Lent. The main events typically occur during February or early March, during the period historically known as Shrovetide (or Pre-Lent). In Nigeria, carnivals mean something different and is mostly observed during Christmas and New Year period, its celebration varies by towns and cities but its always between 25th of December and early January in most cases. Although some hold theirs during other festive periods such as Easter and Islamic festivals but this practice is not comon.
The question is; does the arrival of new year(Gregorian or even Hijrah) worth celebrating? Justice to this question has been done by Brother Abideen Muhammad Ayomide in his recent article titled “What is new in the ‘new year’?”
History and Development in Nigeria
The celebration popularly called “carnival” has been traced to early 90’s in Lagos. Some historians claimed it has existed earlier than that in other nomenclatures. This event cum celebration has taken a new shape and needs to be interdicted by the Nigerian government if the future of this great nation is dearer to its heart. Carnival may seem to be a way of fun for those involved but the illicit acts that comes with it shows that it’s a way of annihilation and not a funfair as it has masked itself.
To take a scrupulous look at the activities that are involved in these fun fair event, Its timing gives an idea of the ills, immoral acts and evils that awaits its participants and the neighborhood it takes place. It mostly start from 11pm and ends at dawn. This mostly causes noise pollution, fights and restless night for the occupants in the neighborhood.
The illicit acts and moral debasement that occurs during these night brings no positive development rather, it deteriorates the insipid norms of the society as it sinks mostly the youths involved in putrefaction.
The celebration is an avenue for intermingling between the opposite sex which leads to illegal sexual activities, where some females (basically newbies) are sexually harassed and sometimes raped if they refuse to concur to the male advances, robbery incidents are generally recorded, Attacks from rival cult groups are highly probable, hard drugs are literally obvious and many more social vices. The question is; how does this add to the moral upbringing of the youth in the society?
This assembly often lead to sexual molestation which is one of several other factors of teenage pregnancy, Theft like burglar, use and consumption of hard drug and banned substances and many more ills. The supposed carnival has satanic influence as its foundation prior to the celebration. Condoms are always shared during rave party and the use of hard drug has been inculcated by the people and each year of carnival is an increase in the number of drug users. Is this in any way coherent with the societal norms that individuals in the society needs to imbibe?
All the aforementioned social ills and several others leads the way to destruction as it annihilate the lives of many promising youth. This carnivals and others like it has lead majority of the youth to leading a wayward life. It is also one of the leading factors that has abruptly truncated hopes of many parent as their children would have been influenced to take up new characters which in no way act as positive catalyst to their intellectual, spiritual and moral growth and development in life.
Despite all this tumultuous and diabolical activities involved, the average and promising youths still crave and celebrate carnival without considering the threat it poses to their personality and future. As long as youths indulge in this kind of celebration, the more we fall into the pit of unpropitious. How will the country then breed the supposed future leaders when they are spontaneously dragging themselves into the mud?
There is a need to curb the celebration of carnival so the seed of righteousness will be planted in the heart of the citizens and allowed to have branches of virtue. The government needs to make a law that prohibits the celebration of carnivals if truly they care for the future leaders of this country. Punishment should be meted to any persons or body that violates the stipulated law. Proper public orientation that buttresses on the norms of the society should be done so as to orientate the citizen and bring the lost citizens right on track.
Parents have a crucial role to play as regards this. They need to place their children under surveillance and also restrict them from participating or staying out all night. Parents should take note that children of the 21st century are very cunning and clever when it comes to acting stealthily. Parents and guidance must watch their movement, verify the information on where they go even after they take permission before leaving; parents should know their friends and identify the ones that can influence them negatively. Parents should assume the role of a detective if that can help in the upbringing of their children.
In conclusion, carnival may seem like a day or say a night to have fun but this ‘fun’ is an invitation of evil to the celebration. It’s a day morals turn vices and depravity. Parents, guidance, teachers and government, we all need to join hands so we can terminate the celebration of carnivals. A permanent halt made on this night party will be an obstruction of corruption to an extent in the country.
_Azeezah Olatunde writes from Lagos Nigeria._
4th of January 2018.