With an explosion of colour, art, massive masquerade bands, spectacular costumes, pulsating music, and the high partying stamina, Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival is one of the greatest show on earth. It is an annual event held on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.
Carnival is the most significant event on the islands' cultural and tourism calendar, with numerous cultural events such as "band launch fetes" running in the lead up to the street parade on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. It is said that if the islanders are not celebrating it, then they are preparing for it, while reminiscing about the past year's festival. Traditionally, the festival is associated with calypso music (brought by African slaves imported to that Caribbean island to work on sugar plantations) however, recently Soca music has replaced calypso as the most celebrated type of music. Costumes, stick-fighting and limbo competitions are also important components of the festival.
Just like the mix of people and cultures that shaped the island, Trinidad's Carnival has many influences. The Spanish and English colonial powers, French planters, African slaves, Indian indentured labourers, and the many other ethnic groups that settled here have all left an indelible mark on the festival. In 1783 the French brought their culture, customs and Carnival, in the form of elaborate masquerade balls, to Trinidad along with African slaves. The period stretching between Christmas and the start of Lent was a time for feasting, fancy dress balls and celebration for both the French and British. Banned from the festivities, slaves in the barrack yards would hold their own celebrations mimicking their masters' behaviour while incorporating rituals and folklore. Once slavery was abolished in 1838, the freed Africans took their Carnival to the streets and, as each new immigrant population entered Trinidad, a new flavour was added to the festivities. Today, our diverse culture has influenced the music, fand traditions of Carnival.
This 2 day carnival consists of J'Ouvert, Carnival Monday & Carnival Tuesday.
Each year at 4 am on Monday, Carnival begins under a cloak of darkness. Fuelled by exhilaration and the energetic rhythms of soca music, revellers take to the streets for the predawn party of J'Ouvert.J'Ouvert (from the French 'jour ouvert' or 'day open') is almost ritualistic in its celebration of the darker elements of the island's folklore and history. Bathed in chocolate, mud, oil and paint, bands of revellers depict devils, demons, monsters and imps. Choose your medium of expression - J'Ouvert is a time for loosening of inhibitions.
Come daytime, the J'Ouvert revelry clears and massive costumed bands of "Pretty Mas" players flood the street with riotous colour. A cast of thousands take to the street "jumping up" and "wining" to the sound of soca blaring from speakers piled on music trucks. The excitement is at fever pitch, but Carnival Monday is only a "warm-up" for Carnival Tuesday.
Carnival Tuesday begins at 8 a.m. Thousands of masqueraders are in full costume, ready and impatiently awaiting their chance to come up in front of the television cameras as bands cross the main judging points. Each band has its own historical, mythological or tropical concept with various sections depicting aspects of the main theme.Bands are judged in three categories: small, medium and large and winners are announced after all the bands have crossed the stage. The Champion Band is crowned Masquerade Band of the Year.
Celebration is an activity filled with enjoyment & happiness, to celebrate a particular achievement, birth, purpose, success. It is an important day or event which includes a social gathering, small of big depending on the type of celebration. Celebrations come in the form of festivals, carnivals, parties, r Evicelebration of a holiday and more. For eg. in India, we celebrate Diwali since thousands of years to celebrate the coming back of Lord Rama after his "vanvas" and also bringing back Sita, who was captured by Ravana, thus celebrating the win of Good over Evil. Diwali is celebrated with the help of diyas, lights, food, family gatherings and pooja. The same way each and every festival or carnival celebrates something which has a story of its own.