Skip to Main Content

Carnival 2015

Not just the muddy mischief of J’ouvert, or the colourful euphoria of ‘pretty-mas’. Not just the music of all types; rapso, live steelpan, tassa, tamboo bamboo, kaiso, calypso and soca. Not just the bodies everywhere. Not just the food, treats and alcohol on every available bit of street. Not just the people of all walks, ages, sizes, shapes, colours and financial backgrounds, playing and dancing in the streets. Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival is a feeling, and a mindset, that happens every year before Ash Wednesday.

Largely born out of indentured labourers and slaves mocking the Pre-Lenten masquerades of their plantation owners, Carnival continues to have a rebellious aspect, especially obvious in the more traditional forms of costume and celebration, Canboulay and J’ouvert, but even in the very attitude of dropping all rules and work to party in the flashy costumes of Carnival Tuesday.

While important for the morale of many Trinbagonians, Carnival is also economically significant, as throngs of persons work together, knowingly or not, to make the event as outstanding as it is. Musicians, band leaders and fete promoters are glaring, but there are also the scores of persons who set up innovated street bars, and vendors selling food, sunglasses and touristy paraphernalia. Many of the larger mas bands also hire large teams of people to act as security personnel for their revelers. There are the drivers of ‘music trucks’, which are trailer trucks loaded with speakers booming music alongside masqueraders. City Corporation workers continually clear away litter, silently helped by persons collecting glass bottles, likely to return them to certain grocery stores to redeem food vouchers.