Take part in one of the best festivals in the Caribbean
Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago is an annual Festival held in Port of Spain its capital. It is considered the biggest in the Caribbean, and also recognized as one of the greatest public celebrations in the world.
The official celebrations take place on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. The dates vary from year to year since it is based on the Lent Calendar and when Ash Wednesday falls that year.
The spectacular costumes of Trinidad Tobago carnival
When is Carnival in Trinidad?
These are the dates for the Trinidad Carnival up to the year 2019
These dates are for Monday and Tuesday, although people start partying on the previous Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
• 2014 – March 3 and 4
• 2015 – February 16 and 17
• 2016 - February 8 and 9
• 2017 - February 27 and 28
• 2018 - February 12 and 13
• 2019 - March 4 and 5
I am sure you are not planning trips for 2019 now, but think of 2013 and 2014 Carnivals.
The party is very big with Trini expatriates and tourists and you should make travel and hotel arrangements with enough time.
Let's play Mas - In the local slang Mas means Masquerades
History of the Carnival in Trinidad
Carnival was introduced to Trinidad by the French in 1783. Plantation owners used to throw elaborate masquerade costumes balls.
The slaves were banned from the festivities so they created their own celebrations using rituals and imitating their masters’ behavior.
When slavery was abolished, the free Africans took to the streets to celebrate and as a new immigration arrived they added their flavor to the existing ones.
Trinidad is a melting pot of people from many countries mainly Hindu and Chinese. They have influenced the music, the food and the traditions of the big feast. They all take to the streets to Play Mas.
Play Mas in local slang is short for masquerades.
The Carnival in Trinidad features many unique components:
This is the annual competition for steel pan. On a preliminary basis contests are held during the six weeks prior to the Carnival.
On Saturday night prior to the official inauguration the Finals competition is held. At this point you are seeing the best of the best competing in front of the crowd and the judges.
Kings and Queens Costume Competition
Designers work for months prior to the event to create the most spectacular and amazing masquerade costumes. Some of them may be as high as 30 feet and weigh between 50-200 lbs. They depict colorful dragons, butterflies and other insects with flowing eyes and antennas.
On Sunday prior to inauguration Monday, the designers enhance their costumes with shows and presentations in order to win the title of King and Queen of the carnival.
Trinidad Carnival one of the most important carnivals in the World
This is the official opening of the carnival that takes place before dawn on Monday. They dress in old clothes; cover themselves with oil, mud, paint and grease and parade through the towns and villages at the sound of soca music and calypso until sunrise.
Once J’Ouvert is over
it’s time to eat breakfast and grab a few hours of sleep before going to
the streets of Port of Spain and join the masquerade bands and
celebrations all day long.
The best costumes are designed King and Queen of the Trinidad Carnival
Monday of Carnival
Mas (short for masquerades) bands consist of thousands of people dancing and jumping through the streets of Port of Spain. They wear glittery costumes each depicting its own historical, mythological or tropical concept.
This day is like a warm up day that starts around midday Monday after some resting after J’Ouvert.
Tuesday of Carnival
The day begins at 8:00 am sharp. Masquerades in full costumes start to dance wildly in front of the judges on their way to the Grand Stand in the Savannah.
The Mas are judged in categories of small, medium and large and prices are awarded after they all crossed the stand of the judges. The Grand Champion Band is crowned Masquerade Band of the Year.
Carnival in Trinidad is a once in a lifetime experience. The important thing to do is prepare with enough time. Remember it is another country. They have their laws and rules and every visitor should abide by them.
All four images about Carnival in Trinidad by;
jenumarc/jo belo/john john
All courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
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