Carnival Tabanca!

Carnival Tabanca!


Today is Carnival Monday in Trinidad and Tobago, and in times past, carnival activities would have been in full swing. J’ouvert would have started in the early hours of the morning and would go until the sun rose. If you’re not sure what J’ouvert is, it is when party goers, many from the night before, parade the streets behind music trucks; jumping, dancing, and wining while covered in paint, powder or even mud. The word is French for ‘The Opening’ and signified the start or opening of this magnificent event.

It is also a time to present and portray funny, scary or unusual characters, all in the name of having fun. (For example, it would not be surprising to see a woman brightly and cheerfully adorned in a frilled dress and bonnet. In her arms she carries a doll, which symbolizes an illegitimate baby). 

Carnival Tuesday is the day when the creativity of Trinidad and Tobago is on full display. Masqueraders in their beautiful costumes are seen in their exuberance, in various carnival bands. It is a sight to behold, very majestic, a kaleidoscope of shimmering colours almost blinding in its beauty, highlighting various aspects of our myriad culture. Masqueraders of all creed and race can be seen, chipping down the streets, crossing the stages at key points, (where judging takes place) and altogether having a fantastic time.

Leading up to carnival there are many shows, events and parties one can attend. For the pan lover there is Panorama. (N.B Pan was created in Trinidad and Tobago and it is our national instrument.). If you prefer the traditional mas there is Ole Mas. There are also various competitions, when participants get rewarded for all their hard work. These include; Calypso, Soca and Chutney Monarch.

Soca music is played all through this period, and Soca artists perform their songs at different shows or events. Soca is a genre of music that fuses African and East Indian rhythms and was invented by our very own Ras Shorty I. It is very infectious; the lyrics and rhythms of Soca encourage you to dance and have a good time, or as the locals will say ‘Dingolay and Ramajay’. (N.B: locally dingolay means dancing, using your waist and ramajay means to sing and make music steel pan style).

Trinidad and Tobago’s carnival is world famous, recognized as one of the greatest shows on earth, and it is greatly missed by all and we all long for its epic return. So yeah we are truly experiencing Carnival Tabanca. Until such time you can still visit the home page: and purchase for yourself memorabilia.


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