Caribbean Students Association hosts annual Carnival

The “Island Paradise” themed event featured food, music and dancing.

Caribbean Students Association Dance Hall after their performance, as photographed on April 2, 2022. (Photograph courtesy of Eddie Qian)

Eddie Qian

Caribbean Students Association Dance Hall after their performance, as photographed on April 2, 2022. (Photograph courtesy of Eddie Qian)

Shunnar Virani and Oghosa Omobude

The Caribbean Student Association (CSA) held its annual Carnival on April 2 from 1-4 p.m. CDT on Wilson Lawn. This year’s theme was “Island Paradise,” and the event offered Caribbean food, dance performances by Steel Dores, Nilaja Amari, Confidance and VIDA as well as mechanical bull riding, a bouncy house and caricatures. T-shirts, pins, stickers and a variety of colored leis were also available for attendees. 

CSA’s Carnival, as photographed on April 2, 2022. (Hustler Staff/Shunnar Virani)
(Shunnar Virani)

Carnival is a celebration of indulgence and freedom that occurs before Lent and is recognized all over the world, most notably in many South American and Caribbean cultures. The festival, which typically lasts for multiple days, is celebrated with parades, floats, dancing, masquerades and showcases. 

The Limbo Competition during Carnival, as photographed on April 2, 2022. (Photograph courtesy of Yueqi Li)
(Yueqi Li)

“We know this is just a brief snapshot, but we hope that you come to this event, and you walk away wanting to learn more about the Caribbean,” CSA President and senior Brannen Dickson said.

This year’s showcase was co-chaired by seniors Brianna Jean-Baptiste and Lisa Owens. 

Although some sophomore, junior and senior students may not have been strangers to the organization’s annual event, for many of the first-year students, this was a novel experience. Arie Moussougan, a first-year, said she had fun at her first Vanderbilt Carnival.

“Carnival was cool,” Moussougan said. “I enjoyed the food and the performances.”

The festival showcased some cultural Caribbean favorites, including, plantains, tostones, picadera, rice & peas, mac & cheese, curry chicken, patties and jerk chicken. Vegetarian protein options included curry tofu and spicy soy. 

Dickson said the setup of the event is not very organized, yet planning starts a year in advance. A new board is chosen and a date is booked a couple of weeks after the previous year’s Carnival. 

“It’s not very programmed because we want that interaction with the crowd,” Dickson said. “So usually the main highlights are dances, food and music to create that island vibe of Caribbean culture.” 

Dickson also reflected on the importance of Carnival as an celebration of CSA’s hard work throughout the school year.

“[Carnival] is at the end of the year because it highlights, each year, the work that CSA does in terms of events, parties, and social awareness, because it’s a huge showcase,” senior and CSA President Brannen Dickson said.