“No more sleep until carnival done, jumpin up in the burning sun, and I don’t care if the rain come down, that can’t stop me from having fun, cause I am a party animal, party animal, no sleep at all,” sings Vincy soca artist Problem Child in his run away hit song, Party Animal.
The Caribbean and its diaspora are made up of party animals, but nowhere is that more obvious than in Trinidad.
With 2008 Carnival quickly approaching, Trinis will once again prove to the world that they are party animals.
Despite 2008 being the shortest carnival season in years, Trinis will certainly enjoy every day, hour, minute and second.
After all, “The season is here, we waiting all year, to wine everywhere, if they tell we stop we go decline, wine out of yuh mind. They can’t stop they bacchanal, they can’t stop the festival, nothing can stop we carnival because this is the season to wine,” sings Machel Montano HD in his 2007/8 hit, Wining Season.
According to Cote ci Cote la, the Trinidad and Tobago Dictionary, ‘Fête’ (French) is a big party with loud music and lots to eat and drink, dancing into the wee hours to the point where you ‘cyah go to work nex’ morning’.
This definitely describes partying in T&T. Of course, over the years many artists have sung about the fêting and partying phenomenon in T&T.
Some 2008 tunes that bring this to the forefront are Breathless by Blaxx, 2 Days by Kerwin Du Bois, Bashment by Jamesy P, Soca Junkie by Mr Dale, and Whole Day by Shurwayne Winchester & Johnny King.
To visit T&T during the carnival season, this year January until February 4th and 5th, is to fully understand this concept.
The short season has resulted in the cancellation of numerous fêtes, however more than five can take place on any given night of every week in the run up to carnival, each with numerous soca artists and calypsonians taking to the stage.
Nevertheless, over ten thousand people may be in attendance at each - and that’s with a national population of only 1.3 million.
Of course these are only the large fêtes; there are many smaller parties, shows and calypso tents that one can attend with just a few hundred other patrons.
Whenever a soca artist says, “Wheyyyy look at people!” it is no exaggeration or idle comment, as thousands can be seen jumping, wining, gyrating, waving and just having a wonderful time.
Of course, this happens day after day for weeks, with no stop for rest. Many, if they make it home at all, will be just in time to shower for work, and afterwards they’ll return home with hopefully just enough time to snatch ten winks before it’s off to the next party.
Trinis pride themselves on attending two or more events a night, and the next day they can be heard boasting about how many fêtes they went to and how little sleep they’ve had.
Trinis not only love to fête, they live to fête. On more than one occasion they have been described as having a ‘carnival mentality’.
While this was meant to be an insult for many Trinis it is definitely something to be proud of, as in two words it describes the personality of the people, their stamina and ability to have a good time no matter what the circumstances, implying more than it actually says.
Naturally, Carnival Monday and Tuesday can only be described as the biggest of all fêtes.
Some mas bands have 5-10 thousand masqueraders, with some three hundred mas bands of varying sizes parading through the street of Port of Spain on these two days.
And not to forget the many bands that parade in regional carnivals, which tend to be small and have only tens or hundreds of masqueraders.
So while Notting Hill claims to be the largest carnival in Europe, and Brazil is a sight to see as the skimpiest, let’s be honest, they can never compare to Trinidad Carnival for the true essence of carnival.