WELCOME TO THE MAIN EVENT, the very Climax and final day of the season. Carnival season starts right after Xmas, ends on Carnival Tuesday night and then Lenten season kicks off at dawn, Ash Wednesday. Devotees of the Trini Seasons calendar follow each season’s requirements, “purging” themselves of all naughtiness and fun during carnival and then abstaining throughout Lent!
Every year, approximately 20,000 people from all over the world converge on Port of Spain for Carnival. Lots of friends plan and come as a group. (Follow blog to get my next piece: “All the Tips You Need to Plan For Carnival”)
For many, Carnival is a bucket list item and just being there to tailgate is enough. Others (like me) HAVE to go deeper and play mas thus it became my birthday treat!
For some, it’s a “one and done” thing while others find themselves wanting to come back year over year. Many carnival-goers become hooked and make it a standing annual rendezvous to experience various countries’ version. There’s a whole crew of doctors (of West African origin) who religiously fly back to Trinidad every year from the UK, Canada, AUS/NZ, other islands and countries. Having previously lived and worked in the Caribbean, they have made Carnival season their “Annual Reunion”. (My only plea to them is to start coming with their wives oh! Else my “anonymous guest blogger” post next year will feature them live, direct and red handed if applicable. 😜) #followblogtocatchyahubby 😆
So…Carnival Tuesday also called “pretty mas” is what most of you envision when you hear of Carnival. The colorful costumes, bodacious bodies, sexy skin, cutesie boots, soca music playing, rolling rumpshaking, wikkid wineing and pumping pelvises grinding way better than Elvis… Yeah alla dat comes to a head on Tuesday. And then the mass exodus begins to Piarco airport for flights to Tobago or back to the “real world”, jobs and life.
Tuesday Mas starts hours earlier (Yuma assembled at 7am on Tuesday, 10am on Monday), ends later and is definitely more colorful. All the bands, mas players and tailgaters come out READY TO RUMBLE <insert round of applause for their amazing stamina!>… 👏🏽 👏🏽 👏🏽 This is quite a feat when you remember most of them have been dancing, J’Ouvert-ing and feteing on land, sea and swimming pools for the past weeks/months. NONSTOP! Only the very fit can do it all and keep going.
Anyhooo, makeup artists started the day’s makeup as early as 1am and went hard all night, “beating up” the pretty faces you see here. As a mother to young kids, I was NOT about to wake up at such crazy hours. Thankful for JMack who did my full-face. God ALWAYS makes all things work together for good..yasss!😍
I left Westmoorings and got to Alberto St about 730am and all 7 of us got dressed, made up and sun screened-up within 2 hours. My skin was very tender and red brown from yesterday’s sunburn so I braced myself for an even longer day in the sun! We all did some improvisations because band costumes usually require some modifications. I wore a nude-colored spaghetti strap top and cycling tights underneath (conservative enough to meet the Pope😄)! Then we hit di road..👇🏽 Beautiful Divas, Birds Of Paradise… #melaninDelicious #SomuchHOTchocolate. 🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰
As we were behind schedule, we went looking for our YumaVibe fleet.
All ages, colors, shapes and sizes jump on di Road. I saw silver-haired retired couples, college kids, professional athletes, teens, fat, skinny, tall Moko jumbi , dwarfs.. etc. Carnival is for people comfortable in their bodies and own skin (as much as you’d like to show). Just BE YOU. Confidence helps.
I love Music and Soca music is no exception. It’s really high-energy so weight loss is guaranteed if you can keep up! Lol. See video 👇🏽
By noon on Tuesday, energy levels varied quite a bit. While some drooped like giant exotic flowers….
Some flourished like reeds by the rivers of Babylon…
Some seemed as lively and fresh as flowers from Seattle’s Tulip Festival fields…
As bands cross the Stages for the judging competitions, everyone perks up to bring their A-game and represent their band/section best. The Hasely Crawford Stadium (a.k.a Socadrome) and Queen’s Park Savannah Stages are the biggest and most important judging stages.
As usual, Security, Police and Armed forces were everywhere to ensure that absolutely no crime occurred. I love the creative costumes. Here are a few more from the men. 👇🏽
A few things I love about Trinidad Carnival:
1) SAFETY. I never felt unsafe. The armed forces and security personnel were EVERYWHERE, Day or night.
2) DISCIPLINE: People also behave amazingly well. You’d think it would be a recipe for disaster to be in a huge crowd of people, with unlimited access to Very Strong free booze all through, but no it wasn’t.
I love that the vibe is also non-sexual. Yeah you’d think that people wineing and rumpshaking in scanty clothing are going to be completely unhinged and “turnt-up” but it’s not that way for most. It’s mainly about disciplined immersion in music, dance, rhythms and hydration.
3) I love that everyone is so nice, accepting of complete strangers and entirely non-judgmental. People just happy to be out, fit, beautiful and uniquely perfect just the way we are, y’all! Or maybe I prefer to look at life through that ‘flower-child’ lens. 💃🏾 #liveandletlive
As Yuma walked to lunch, I walked the opposite direction, all the way to the Savannah. It was great to get there and watch all di bands waiting their turn to cross the main stage – the Savannah Stage! The steelpan bands were also there, filling the air with calypso music. I love that it’s unique sound captures the very essence of the Caribbean.
Asides the fun-focused tourist-inclusive bands, there are also traditional bands reenacting historical eras in Trinidad and Tobago, including the history of slavery, culturally significant events, the history of Carnival, good & evil spirits of TnT as well as depictions of revolutions that got freedom from the evil slavers. Going into that would need a whole blog post so watch this space if you want the deep dive. Here are a few of the educative bands reminding the people of the country’s rich background.
Meeting up with my family was awesomest! Gosh I’d missed my dollbabies soooo much!
If time, pocket and chance permittest, visit Trinidad for Carnival! If you can’t go there try Barbados Cropover, Jamaica Carnival, Grenada or Brazil. If that’s still impossible, get a taste of the Caribbean at a Carnival near you. Here’s the Int’l Carnival Calendar!!!