Mudcat Café message #3474352 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #90963   Message #3474352
Posted By: GUEST,Lighter
01-Feb-13 - 08:11 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Fakenham Fair
Subject: RE: Origins: Fakenham Fair
Just as a point of interest: the most important American "carnival," in the traditional sense, was undoubtedly the New Orleans Mardi Gras. By the mid-1890s "traveling carnival companies" began to appear. These were itinerant outfits equipped with acrobats, clowns, jugglers, a few animals, and so forth that would essentially put on a "carnival" (a completely secular outdoor entertainment) in rural areas. They were essentially small traveling circuses.

It didn't take long for "carnival" to expand its meaning to include a "carnival company" itself ("ran away to join a carnival"), not just the old idea of a religious and later secular street celebration.

How long it took the new usage to reach the British Isles, I can't say.