Carnival Traditions - Trinidad & Tobago

Carnival Traditions: Cabo Verde | Goa | Trinidad & Tobago | Angola | Venice | Brazil In order to understand carnival in Trinidad and Tobago, one has to understand “J’Ouvert” (the contraction of the French jour ouvert or dawn/daybreak), the official start of the two day celebration which begins at 4 a.m. on the Monday preceding Lent. It could be said that j’ouvert is for the party professionals … hearty, generally rum-fueled “Pretty Mas” revelers who join together in jumping, dancing, shouting and other colorful antics all to the accompaniment of mud, oil, pitchforks and pointy tails. It’s a decidedly devilish affair, paying homage to the more carnal and possibly darker side of life. Then, on Tuesday, beginning promptly at 8 a.m., tens of thousands of costumed dancers, marching groups and bands line up, waiting for their time to parade in front of the official judges, competing for the honor of small, medium or large “Masquerade Band of the Year.”

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