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The Rules of Carnival

Published: 
Monday, February 9, 2015

Littering in Louisana attracts fines from US$50 to US$5,000 but big sweeper trucks also clean up immediately after the parades. It’s bad luck to pick up any loot left in the street.

In Rio, glass, firecrackers, video cameras and polystyrene are banned. In Nice, France, the church used to be blue vex over the masquerades and revelry and ecclesiastical law once prohibited priests from “dancing; watching others dance; growing their beard; wearing red or green shoes ; walking the streets at night ; wearing a mask, playing music or singing in the streets.”

Things have loosened up a bit since then but Nice is still too civilised for you to get up to any really important stuff. Among all the flower floats and children throwing silly string, the worst you could probably do there is refuse to smile back when someone smiles at you.

In T&T, if anyone bothers to read the Summary Offences Act, special collapsible Carnival detention centres would be built in all the boroughs. 

Don’t be misled by all those rum songs—it’s illegal to be found drunk in a public place, punishable by a fine of $100. 

Annual Carnival ordinances prohibit daubing anyone with intent to intimidate or obtain anything of value from that person. There goes my entire J’Ouvert blue devil routine! 

It is also an offence to sing or recite any lewd or offensive song (hahahaaaa!); indulge in behaviour or gestures which are immoral, rude or offensive; or drive any vehicle while “facially masked.’’ The maximum penalty for breaching any of these rules is a $1,000 fine and imprisonment for six months.

Carnival parades and parties can be found from here to Croatia but one rule applies around the globe, although most men have never heard of it—no urinating in the street. 

Flouting the P-rule can land you in serious jail in Brazil, but maybe realising men don’t care where they go with the flow, an event organiser and a publicity agency two years ago came up with a new urinal which operates like a hydroelectric plant, converting the bodily fluid into power for the Brazilian Carnival floats. 

Here’s to the “Electric Pee,” and a less smelly Carnival

• Send your Carnival do’s and don’ts to [email protected]