While the carnival events begin following the celebration of Christmas, the true start of the events are the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Carnival is much like the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but on a much larger scale. Masqueraders and bands from all over come together to celebrate and compete; each group has their own theme using colors and decorative elements to represent their chosen topic from history, mythology, or tropical elements. The Carnival hosts a variety of events ranging from live music (brass, calypso, mas, panorama, soca, steelpan, etc.)
While there are a variety of things to see and do, here are the events you absolutely cannot miss during the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival! Don’t hesitate to book your cheap flight to Tobago today! But, in case you need a little more information, here are some interesting facts about the Carnival.
While the official start of the carnival isn’t until Monday, Dimanche (the French word for Sunday) Gras will usually take place the Sunday night before Carnival. Located at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, the festivities for the Carnival begin. There are a variety of musical concerts and events that begin at 7pm. In addition to the performances, the Calypso Monarch (best dancer) is chosen alongside the King and Queen of the bands. Over the next two days, masqueraders will perform throughout the streets until the King and Queen Costume Competition is held.
King and Queen Costume Competition
Each music/dance group of Carnival chooses a leader for their masquerade. The leaders compete in the King and Queen Costume competition, making their costumes as large and elaborate as they can. The costumes themselves will usually weigh between 50 and 200 pounds. Most will consist of colourful themes representing the group’s chosen concept from history, mythology, or tropical element. The possibilities are endless! The costumes are extravagant; in the past, some have even been enhanced with lasers, fog machines, and sound effects… Light shows and fireworks aren’t even uncommon! The bigger and more elaborate the costume, the more notice the group will get, and ultimately a crown.
Meaning ‘daybreak’ J’Ouvert usually marks the start of the carnival at 4am that Monday morning. While the fetes (or individual parties) feature individual dance styles and offer a variety of food and drink (yes, there are some all-inclusive fetes for those who are interested) many party goers are well into celebrating by the start of the events. Masqueraders flog the streets. Bands with thousands of members come stampeding in, demanding attention and offering unforgettable performances. Many of the members arrive dressed in old clothes so that they may cover themselves in some kind of liquid (oil, grease, paint, chocolate or mud) and dance/jump throughout the streets bidding the sun to rise. Throughout J’Ouvert there are a variety of music competitions for the different bands to perform and compete in.
While the Carnival has come to a close for 2014, it’s never too early to plan for next year! Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago is set to take place February 16-17 in 2015. Start planning your trip today! Head over to TravelSpan.com and be sure to take a look at the great rates for non-stop flights to Tobago and travel packages they offer!