Hi guys…..I’ve written about this before but that time has come around again. It’s CARNIVAL IN TRINIDAD!!!!!! Yes people partying for weeks with 3 or more parties happening everyday and then there will be the parade of carnival costumes in the streets on the last two main Carnival days. I wanted to do everything this year…that means going to at least 4 all inclusive fetes, doing Jouvert, going Panorama and also playing Mass but the finances just weren’t holding up so I had to pick and choose which events I could go to.
Just to explain…in Trinidad we have 2 days where different Carnival Bands dance through the streets in their fantastic costumes on Carnival Monday 4th March and Tuesday 5th March. Carnival bands are organized groups made up of participants who pay for costumes fashioned by a designer and assembled by teams of volunteers. The costumed participants dance through the streets to the sounds of a steel band, a soca band or a d.j.
Note: Historians say they believe the first “modern” Caribbean Carnival originated inTrinidad and Tobago in the late 18th century when a flood of French settlers brought the Fat Tuesday masquerade party tradition with them to the island, although Fat Tuesday celebrations were almost certainly taking place at least a century.
We live for Carnival, the fun, the excitement , the meeting up of friends you haven’t seen in a long time and family from abroad come just for the Carnival “bacchanal”.Our Festival is AMAZING, FUN, LOVE BETWEEN PEOPLE and everyone gets along with everyone. So in the end I did two fetes although we paid to go to three. My husband was just too tired that day so we didn’t go the Vale Fete. We attended Holy Name Convent’s Cooler Fete. Many of the schools have parties as a means of raising funds for the School. Schools like QRC, Fatima, the University, Bishops have been having All Inclusive Fetes for years. The newcomers are CIC and Holy Name.
Even St. Joseph Covent who I know the Nuns said they would never allow a fete on the grounds had to give in to the school partnering with 2 other schools. Fatima and St. Francois to host a Cooler fete because the funds help the schools build computer rooms, put in new computers, fix areas that are run down and pay for whatever issues the school maybe experiencing. They are normally organized by the Past Student Associations, which removes the headache and stress of organizing an event themselves versus the teachers etc. Some of these High Schools are so great at running these events that their tickets are prime.
Ok to continue….I attended my daughter’s high school cooler fete at Holy Name and a Fete called Farmhouse which was hosted in the Chaguaramas Prominade…It was WONDERFUL!!! I had a ball. I went with my husband, my girlfriend and we organized to meet 3 other couples there. I “bounced up” so many people I haven’t seen in a long while as well as some of my clients that I call friends.
The 2 or 3 weeks before those two days there are hundreds of events like Steelpan Competitions (know as Panorama), Calypso Competitions (Groovy, Power, Chutney, Calypso and Ex Tempo), All Inclusive fetes, Cooler fetes, and more. All Inclusive fetes are parties you pay around $150USD and you get as much food as you want, drinks of all kinds – cocktails, champaign, mixed drinks – live calypso or Groovey singers….only the best of the best Trini Kaiso and Soca entertainers.
A fête, or fete, is an elaborate festival, party or celebration. In Trinidad, fêtes are traditional public festivals, held outdoors and organised to raise funds for a charity or just for personal profit. They typically include entertainment and the sale of goods and refreshments.
Note: Steelpan- a percussion instrument originating in Trinidad, made out of an oil drum with one end beaten down and divided by grooves into sections to give different notes.
You dance, jump and “wine (move your waist in a circular motion)” from 3:00pm until midnight. It’s the best experience EVER!!!!. “Wine” or “wining” is the name given to the dance of Trinidad and Tobago. Talk about a great stress reliever, that is what Carnival is for many. There are people who go from one party to the next then go straight to work, e.g. my daughter’s friend went to a Fete on Tuesday from 2pm to 11pm then straight from that Fete to another one starting from 11pm to 9am the next day and from that she went straight to work for 9am.
So 2 out of 3 fetes attended. I couldn’t play mass as the costumes were a bit over my budget…that is why some people take loans for Carnival…with the cost of the Carnival costumes, all the fetes, Panorama and more you end up spending a minimum of $2500.USD, an amount I can’t spend right now. So the 3 Fetes…….one we got the tickets free (Holy Name) and the other 2 combined cost me USD $250 and then there is JOUVERT!!!! That’s where different bands of people (which could total 1000’s) in casual t-Shirts and shorts or less get covered in paint or mud, or chocolate, or powder or clay and we dance through the streets following Music trucks and breakfast is provided as well as drinks…soft and alcoholic because this parade starts at 4am in the morning.
Yes people I got up at 1am to get ready to collect a friend, went to the meeting point in my paid for T-shirt (that you can cut up into all kinds of stiles), cup, hat, beads provided for our portrayal. When you arrive you get a drink, listen and dance to music while you wait for when the trucks move unto the road where we follow, dancing and prancing in the streets behind them. OH I forgot to mention that as we are waiting we each go to get paint smeared all overs…on our clothes, hair, legs..…anywhere the skin is showing.
Once the truck leaves the compound then we follow. It drives around the town with us following-dancing behind it, along the way we encounter other bands and we let them pass or we dance with them, but I’m talking about bands with hundreds of people so it only sounds simple. We dance all morning from 4am until 8 or 9am. WONDERFUL FUN!!!.
Inspite of all that prancing I’m not tired, I guess working out in the gym at 5am then walking the hills of Chancellor in the afternoon has built up my stamina. But I will feel it a little later in the day, but for now I;\”m watching the Parade of the bands on TV while I recoup from Jouvert.
I hope one day one of you m readers can come visit Trinidad to experience our Carnival…none of the carnivals in the other countries like Brazil or even Mardi Gras in New Orleans comes close and I’ve experienced Mardi Gras.