Carnival’s Confusing Anniversaries

Suppose you started a new job in February 2008. When, then, should you celebrate your first anniversary? A reasonable answer would be this month, a year later, February 2009. That is, unless you use Carnival time. In that case you should have celebrated your first year on your first day on the job.

 That is part of the confusion that Carnival faces in presenting its anniversaries. Do you measure something from the first time something happened? Or do you measure it from one year later, as we do in celebrating birthdays and special occasions. A married couple, for example, celebrates their first anniversary a year after the wedding and not on the day of the ceremony.

 In Carnival, depending on who’s doing the celebrating, the calculations go both ways. The old-line organizations tend to favor the former method. Thus Rex, which first paraded in 1872 celebrated its centennial in 1971. Zulu, on the other hand, which bases its anniversary on the year that it was incorporated (1909) celebrates its centennial anniversary this year. Had it done it the Rex way, the centennial would’ve been last year.

 For mediation we call on higher authority, namely the Louisiana State Lottery, which this Carnival is printing scratch-off tickets to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Al Johnson’s song, "Carnival Time." The state’s calculations are based on early recordings being made in 1959, so in a non-Rex manner, this is the 50th. Rexo, however, is sticking to its method in celebrating the 50th anniversary of parade doubloons, which were first tossed from its floats in 1960.

By some ways of counting, 2010 would be 50th, but that’s not the Rex way. So here we have two 50th anniversaries – one based on something that happened in 1959 and the other on a parade in ’60.

 King Sargon, the signature names of each year’s King of the Knights of Babylon, presents an opportunity for Solomon-like wisdom in determine the Knights’ 70th anniversary, which is also being celebrated this year. The anniversary could be based on 1939, the year when The Jester’s Club, Babylon’s parent organization, was founded or on ’40, the year of the first parade. Take your pick.

 I propose standardization of the way anniversaries are determined although I’m not sure who should do the standardizing. If I were Emperor, reigning over all these kings, I would demand the year-later method. Under my dictum Zulu is 100 but Rex has to wait another year to celebrate the doubloon and its bicentennial should be in 2072 not ’71. But then again the King of Carnival, I suppose, rules supreme.

 Meanwhile, those of you who have read this far are invited back next February when the first anniversary of this article is celebrated. Or should it be this year?

Categories: LL_From the Editor

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