Carnival and cultural industry

It is an unquestionable fact that the Dominican carnival has already reached the long pants. This is evident not only in the number of crowds that is able to convene throughout the month of February, in different cities at the same time, to culminate in the capital city with the national parade that brings together hundreds of thousands in an overflowing environment of Laughter, joy, popular creativity and colorful explosion.

The caravans that fill the Duarte Highway to the Vega, Bonao, Santiago and other towns during the weekends tell us how enthusiastic the carnival festivity is in the country. However, in the capital there is also the contagious sound of comparsas circulating in different places, such as announcing the space of the big party.

Others in parts of the country and other dates out carnival comparsas, breaking the old tradition and dispersing the reason and nature of what is known as carnival, but that is assumed by different people giving wealth and diversity sinigual to our parties.

However, there is still a need to impregnate the Dominican carnival with a sense of cultural industry that involves different sectors, entire families, small and medium-sized businessmen, trinkets, businesses, craftsmen, artists and all the popular creativity, this time with a business sense of involving this Festive magnificence in a true industry that produces resources and invests in it without fear.

In other parts of the world such as New Orleans and Brazil, the carnival is used as a cultural industry, leaving benefits not only to those who enjoy it and live from its catharsis but also to those people linked to it by the force of work and marketing that necessarily it is derived from an activity that moves so many people, so many scattered resources, so many interests, and as if that were not enough, it also commits the tourism sector, which by its very nature benefits from its celebration.

It is not possible that with so many interests involved in the carnival we can not design a cultural industry project that generates a chain of exchanges in order to make the carnival a true source of cultural promotion, as well as a life alternative for many people who are related to it, without knowing the benefits that it can generate.

It is not about ignoring the incipient industry that already exists; What we are talking about is how to present a commercial and creative infrastructure specialized in carnival that elevates the quality of the floats, the resources used as paraphernalia of the same, the different comparsas, producing a human and commercial chain that complicates the very results of the carnival, in terms of creative quality, color, designs, costumes, landscapes, themes and many other manifestations of it.

This initiative does not affect the spontaneity of the carnival or distort it as a cultural tradition; the concept of cultural industry, promoted by international organizations such as UNESCO, on the other hand, allows people to value the cultural fact as a way of life, as well as being an expression of identity and of satisfying an internal need of the people.

Taken from the book On the path of the word. Notes on dominicanity, 2006.

Carlos Andújar Persinal

Specialist in anthropology.