The most famous and largest carnival in the world is the Rio de Janeiro Carnival in Brazil; in addition, the Venice Carnival in Italy and the Basel Carnival in Switzerland are also famous.
But in fact, the carnivals in the Caribbean island countries are also extremely famous, such as Trinidad Carnival, Anguilla Carnival, Saint Martin Carnival, Dominica Carnival. I have been fortunate enough to participate in carnivals in several island countries, and the scenes are still vivid: colorful men, women and children in costumes, fancy costumes, fantasy costumes, wearing quirky masks, or painted colorful facial makeup, or even naked. Painted with gasoline like ink, everyone got close to each other, closely following the band truck with loud volume, dancing to the rhythm.
This year, due to the epidemic, the carnival in the Caribbean has been cancelled one by one, and we can only miss it from the laughter of the past.
Same island, different festivals
Saint Martin is a cultural melting pot, divided by the Netherlands and France. The Netherlands and French regions each hold their own carnivals, which are held from April 16 to May 3 and from the end of February to the beginning of March.
In the Carnival Village of Sint Maarten, Netherlands, a two-week program is held, including the Calypso King of Singers competition all night long, as well as band and singer performances. The audience was enthusiastic, singing, dancing and shadowing one after another. The Calypso competition and band performance lasted from the evening to three or four in the morning. The blazing atmosphere will definitely not let you doze off, and it will also infect you to eat, drink and have fun together, like a Caribbean!
/ People of all skin colors and dresses share the big stage of the street regardless of each other, and dance to the music, letting the rhythm of jumping communicate with each other. /
During the Dutch Carnival, I went to see two of the parades. The parade is held on the commercial street of Philipsburg, the capital, and many multi-ethnic performance teams are organized by companies. The fusion of white, black and brown is performed together. Participants include beautiful and handsome guys showing off their figures and dancing postures, as well as children showing costumes and talents. I also participated in the climax part: Jouvert Morning (French, meaning a street party that starts at 4 am and ends several hours after sunrise).
The summer dawn carnival in British Anguilla, people are jumping for joy in the splashing water
The citizens consciously formed a parade brigade, and they could retreat to the sides of the street as spectators at any time when they were tired. Many people hold Malibu (a coconut-flavored rum), plastic wine glasses or bottled beer, and the air is full of alcohol and gasoline (they will decorate their naked bodies with dark gasoline). My friend encouraged me to walk into the crowd. I followed other people to the Wine dance (a dance of spinning and twisting my waist and hips), and soon other bodies would sway with me! Everyone needs this moment of passion and release!
Dawn Carnival in St. Martin, the band parade on the truck
Remember! Women participating in this session should wear trousers (applicable to all carnivals), because there are any ways to play in this unrestrained scene. If you wear a skirt and go out of dance during the dance, it will be embarrassing. But no matter how sexy the dance moves on the street are, or even simulate intimate scenes, there is still a decent bottom line in the indulgence of enthusiasm.
Street performers during the Sint Maarten carnival
The parade is also an excellent scene of cultural integration. People of all skin colors and dresses share the big stage of the street, listen to music and dance, and let the rhythm of jumping communicate with each other.
During the French Saint Martin Carnival Parade in February 2016, I also joined the community performance team. There was a Guadeloupe folk band that opened the way, playing drums from ancient Africa, which made people sway and dance. When arriving at the central street, from time to time, mainland French travelers exclaimed in French, “There are Chinese! Chinese!”
During the Trinidad Carnival, a marching band in fancy costumes
Perhaps until then, the Chinese on the island were low-key and rarely participated in such carnival parades. But the situation changed in 2018! The Chinese Society of Saint Martins also organized a youth performance team to participate in the street parade of the Dutch and French carnivals for the first time, and also boarded the stage of the Dutch Carnival Village for talent performances. In the following years, Chinese societies have participated, showing that overseas Chinese and overseas Chinese have become more and more confident in integrating into the local culture.
Carnival in the British Caribbean
Dominica is a beautiful small island nation in the Commonwealth. The carnival lasts for nearly a month (February to March), and the date is similar to the fourth birthday of the Catholic Church (Lent). Compared with St. Martin’s festival, it lacks a commercial atmosphere, incorporates a lot of folk customs, and has many traditional costumes, costumes and delicacies that you can’t find in other carnivals.
During the carnival parade, the first traditional characters to appear with the sound of the truck band (sometimes DJ) are the male Sensay (Ghanaian) characters: they are dressed in banana leaves, hemp strips, flour bags, and rotten cloth strips. Made of loose long clothes, wearing horns headdress, face pale and strange make-up; followed by colorful 12-foot stilts Bwa-Bwa dancers (originating in West Africa), strolling through the street like a garden.
The Dominica Capital Carnival Parade team includes the T-shirt Band (a casual performance team organized by the band under commercial sponsorship) and the Costume Band (a privately organized profit-making costume performance team). The Calypso singing competition was held in an open field by the sea, divided into many rounds. Under the light of the moon, the singers competed in turn, performing songs specially created for the competition, and with current political content, which can resonate with local audiences.
Singing on the stage, dancing off the stage, Creole food and wine circulation, the atmosphere is great. I also watched the beauty pageant for the first time (divided into children’s group and adult group). The beauty pageant run by a small country of 70 or 80 thousand people is also wonderful. The beauties are dressed in exquisite clothes designed by their own designers, which have very local elements.
The climax of the carnival-a two-day large party on the streets of the capital, known as Carnival Monday and Carnival Tuesday. The degree of commercialization in this island country is not high, life is simple and traditional, but the mood of revellers is more primitive and higher.
I also participated in two Anguilla summer carnivals (July 30 to August 6). Anguilla is a British overseas territory with a population of just over 20,000, but its carnival is well-known overseas. Its carnival village, beauty pageant and street parties are no different from other islands, but it also has a unique rowing event.
During the carnival, many people are holding plastic wine glasses or bottled beer, and the air smells of alcohol and gasoline.
The Dawn Parade on “August Monday” (August Monday) is very special. Stretching from the urban area of the mini-capital to the famous Sandy Ground beach on the island, colorful performance teams, truck bands, bar carts selling drinks and carnival crowds began to traverse the wilderness roads of this flat island from 4 in the morning. . Crowds continue to join the carnival queue on the road, and large water trucks sprinkle water on the crowd from time to time to stimulate people’s emotions. The whole atmosphere burned, and the wild atmosphere of Anguilla Summer Festival compared the other islands!
After sunrise, the parade arrives at the beach, and the beach party with sailing races, star singers and band performances will be postponed until late at night. All the (legal) elements that make you indulge yourself can be found here. If you want to step on the fine sand, face the endless glaze blue sea, become a point in the crowd under the blue sky, enjoy the wonderful performances on the stage, freely dance, dance, and scream, go in and out of the sea from time to time, and feel the ultimate in life Good and happy, come here!
Slave culture “counters off” European sovereign
Carnival is a showcase of Caribbean culture, where people show off local music, dance, history and vitality. Although carnival originated in the Catholic tradition in Europe, the descendants of Caribbean residents and slaves transported from Africa turned it into a carnival with Caribbean characteristics.
/ Carnival is a showcase of Caribbean culture, where people show off local music, dance, history and vitality. /
It is said that the modern “Carnival of the Caribbean” originated in Trinidad and Tobago at the end of the 18th century, and its features include specific carnival costumes, music, and steel drum bands. The slaves who were abducted here danced and performed other activities related to African culture in the streets to celebrate the culture of African ancestors. In addition to Catholic roots and African characteristics, the masks and mythological figures of the local aborigines are also an important part of the carnival.
Many of the characters appearing at the Caribbean Carnival have local stories, and they are all rooted in the island’s indigenous traditions and folklore. Among the classic examples are El Diablo Cojuelo in the Dominican Republic (the character of the devil with crutches: it represents the Spaniards who came to the island from a foreign land to enslave the indigenous people), and the Baby (the character of the baby doll: its image is Happy women in maid’s hats wearing lace skirts and holding illegitimate babies, they will jokingly call male audiences the fathers of the children, perhaps to satirize the sexual abuse of the old slave owners), and Sensay of Dominica (mentioned above) Zhi’s face is pale and ghostly).
Carnival quickly spread from Trinidad to other islands, becoming an annual event. Through dressing and dressing, music and dancing, islanders celebrate their local culture with people from all over the world.
Carnival is a cultural experience, but it also means big business for many bands, event planners, costume designers and others who participate in various ways every year. During the carnival period, many island tourists surged, resorts were overcrowded, and food consumption was high.
Carnival is a festival celebrating beauty, full of dazzling and colorful colors. Both Caribbean women and men are eager to show their best at the carnival. I have seen some people even go on a diet and exercise in advance, no matter how tight they are, they have to buy beautiful clothes and accessories in order to make their debut on important days.
Go to any Caribbean island to participate in the carnival, you will feel overwhelmed and fun!