24 and 25 of February we were enjoying Carnival in Tobago.
More relaxed, less spendthrift compared to the Trinidad one.
On Monday we woke up around 3 AM, extremely load music from the shore. It was the beginning of J’Ouvert day (French meaning “break of day”), the last modern Carnival festivities that reflects the origins of Carnival. J’Ouvert is mud mas, dirty mas. The dance from dark to light through the streets. Green and blue devils, midnight robbers and thousands of other revellers dancing through the streets, covered in paint and mud.
J’Ouvert is not the modern “pretty mas” that we used to see on Caribbean Carnival. In the dim light of dawn no one is paying attention to the details, but the energy of the thousands who take to the streets is irresistible.
Local playwright and J’Ouvert aficionado Tony Hall describes it like this:
“It is half-five, six in the morning, and the colour of dawn coming through and all these people all paint up in different colours, a riddim going and all of a sudden you feel this sense of suspension. You see all these people, all these people are your community and you realise, you feel a strong sense of love and you realise that what you are really doing is renewing a vow to love these people for the year coming.”