Trinidad Carnival – The Greatest Show On Earth

  1. Island Explorer
  2. May 29, 2012 3:14 am

Trinidad Carnival - The Greatest Show On Earth

Plan Your Next Trip To The Islands Around Trinidad Carnival

Trinidad Carnival

Without a doubt the largest as well as most remarkable of all celebrations in the islands of Trinidad and Tobago is its Carnival. Dating back to Trinidad’s very early European settlers, Trinidad carnival is a festivity of custom, civilization, and absolute fun. Tobago’s Carnival often tends to be much more sedate relative to Trinidad’s, which are held in the resources town of Slot of Spain.

Celebrations for Trinidad carnival starts in the last quarter of each year with the various band launching fete, and  culminate in 2 days of non-stop, high-energy revelry prior to Ash Wednesday – actually, unofficially, it is much more than two days but more like two weeks of non-stop high-energy parties. Carnival Monday launches around 4 am that includes J’Ouvert, which is stemmed from the French “jour ouvert” or “day open.” Trinidad carnival goers dressed as daimons, huges or devils, others covered in sludge, oil or paint, hit the roads for a raucous great time. Carnival Monday tasks go on at daybreak as the costumed “Pretty Mas” revelers sign up to the festivities. The large day is Carnival Tuesday, when the costumes are at their most fancy, bands battle for splendor, and parades carry on well into the night.

Trinidad Carnival History

Trinidad carnival is deeply rooted in history. French planters, indentured laborers, and also their servants emigrated to Trinidad throughout the French Change (1789) from Martinique, consisting of an amount of West Africans, and French creoles from Saint Vincent, Grenada, Saint Lucia and Dominica, forming a regional society before Trinidad and Tobago were taken from Spain by the British. Carnival had certainly appeared by having the French, indentured laborers and the servants, who could well not take part in Carnival, developed their very own, parallel celebration called Canboulay.

Stick-fighting as well as African percussion music were outlawed in 1880, in response to the Canboulay Riots. They were switched out by bamboo sticks topped collectively, which were themselves outlawed in turn. In 1937 they came back, changed as a band of frying pans, dustbin lids and oil drums. These steelpans are right now a significant element of the Trinidadian tunes display and are a prominent area of the Canboulay new music contests. In 1941, the Us Navy appeared on Trinidad, and also the pan-men, who were connected with lawlessness and violence, helped to popularize steel pan tunes amongst soldiers, which started its global popularization.

Carnival Characters

There are a number of popular characters that have continued on as part of Trinidad carnival – though in a much lesser form. Amongst these characters are:

  • Pierrot Grenade– this individual presents speeches on matters of the day, all in rhyme
  • Minstrels– musicians representing wandering minstrels, sporting white face paint
  • Midnight Robber– his grandiose talk is understood as “robber talk,” a design which grew from African Griot storytellers
  • Jab Jab – Jab is the French Patois for ‘Diable’ (Devil), and Molassie is the French Patois for Mélasse (Molasses). The Stab Molassie is just one of multiple varieties of devil mas bet in Trinidad carnival and also Tobago carnival. The costume consists of brief slacks or slacks ripped off at the leg, as well as a disguise and horns. The jab molassie would definitely bring chains, as well as damage locks and tickets around his middle, and also bring a pitch fork. He may smear his body by having grease, tar, sludge or colored dyes (red, green or blue). The stab molassie “wines” or gyrates to a balanced beat that is wagered on tins or pans by his imps. While a couple of his imps furnish the new music, others hold his chain, seemingly hindering him or her as they yanks against them in his wild dance.  The differences between the various forms of devil mas were once specific, yet have certainly come to be blurred over time.

trinidad carnival jab jab

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  • Dame Lorraine– an amply blessed female– stuffed in the suitable spots– dressed as an 18th century French aristocrat

Carnival Tuesday 2006
trinidad carnival Dame Lorraine

Image by caribbeanfreephoto
Nellon Hunte as a Dame Lorraine.


Trinidad Carnival Dates

Many of our visitors to the islands, plan their trip around Trinidad carnival dates. Carnival will be celebrated on Monday, March 3rd 2014 and on Tuesday, March 4th 2014. The following year will be a bit earlier on February 16th and February 17th.



Carnival Music in Trinidad: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture (Global Music Series) W/CD

Carnival Music in Trinidad: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture (Global Music Series) W/CD

Carnival Music in Trinidad is one of several case-study volumes that can be used along with Thinking Musically, the core book in the Global Music Series. Thinking Musically incorporates music from many diverse cultures and establishes the framework for exploring the practice of music around the world. It sets the stage for an array of case-study volumes, each of which focuses on a single area of the world. Each case study uses the contemporary musical situation as a point of departure, covering

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Governing Sound: The Cultural Politics of Trinidad’s Carnival Musics (Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology)

Governing Sound: The Cultural Politics of Trinidad's Carnival Musics (Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology)

Calypso music is an integral part of Trinidad’s national identity. When, for instance, Franklin D. Roosevelt asked the great Trinidadian musician Roaring Lion where he was from, Lion famously replied “the land of calypso.” But in a nation as diverse as Trinidad, why is it that calypso has emerged as the emblematic music?

In Governing Sound, Jocelyne Guilbault examines the conditions that have enabled calypso to be valorized, contested, and targeted as a field of cultural politics in

List Price: $ 30.00

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Trinidad Carnival: The Cultural Politics of a Transnational Festival

Trinidad Carnival: The Cultural Politics of a Transnational Festival

Like many Caribbean nations, Trinidad has felt the effects of globalization on its economy, politics, and expressive culture. Even Carnival, once a clandestine folk celebration, has been transformed into a major transnational festival. In Trinidad Carnival, Garth L. Green, Philip W. Scher, and an international group of scholars explore Carnival as a reflection of the nation and culture of Trinidad and Trinidadians worldwide. The nine essays cover topics such as women in Carnival, the politics an

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Carnival in Trinidad

Carnival in Trinidad

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