Trinidad's Famous Carnival
Carnival in Trinidad began when early
French settlers would march in masked processions from one house to
another (thus the local name "Mas"), a custom slaves adopted
after emancipation in 1834.
Wary authorities attempted to discourage this new Carnival, but obviously
From the beginning, pounding
drums led the Mas processions in Trinidad's Carnival.
After World War II, steel bands added a whole new dimension
when local musicians discovered they could get as many as 32 different
notes from something as ordinary as the top of an oil drum.
Here's the schedule
for Trinidad's next carnival.
From such an unlikely beginning, the steel bands
formed and the loudly thumping heart of modern day Carnival was born.
Carnival in Trinidad lasts for weeks, but the revelry explodes the weekend just
before Lent. This is the time when almost islands held their Carnival
but quite a number changed their celebration to spring
or summer in order not to conflict with Trinidad's party. They knew
they simply not compete.
Besides, many islanders everywhere want to attend Carnival in Trinidad.
Costume and band competitions are capped off by the incredible walk
(or shuffle or stagger depending on your condition).
It is the j'ouvert (pronounced "jouvay"),
a jump-up or dawn dance that parades through the streets of Port-of-Spain
from about 4 a.m. until 10 a.m.
With many thousands of people taking part, j'ouvert is deafening,
intoxicating, crushing, unforgettable, a true celebration (and
testing) of the senses.
For tourists, it generally is a safer celebration than the only other
comparable spectacle, Rio at Carnival time. And it
is done with class, not with a lot of barfing and unruly conduct that
has come to characterize Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Trinidad's Carnival is family friendly.
are invited to party throughout it all. In fact, to be authentic, you
can even buy your own Carnival costume
at a Mas Camp.
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