home | articles | Trinidad Carnival 2014: Getting ready to take to the streets          [1957 page views]
Trinidad Carnival 2014: Getting ready to take to the streets
By Nicole-Rachelle Moore
Trinidad & Tobago
Photograph By Cleon Henry
Tuesday 21 January 2014 : 9:00 GMT

Carnival in Trinidad &Tobago is the world’s greatest spectacle of colour, creativity, enjoyment and theatre. The islands are currently in the throes of preparation for this annual world calendar event which in 2014, will culminate on Tuesday 4th March. A major feature of Carnival in the twin island republic is its ability to foster a cohesiveness born out of its unifying revelry which cuts across economic, ethnic and social divides. Historically however, this was not always the case.

The activity and influence of Catholicism in Trinidad, with its tradition of feasting and merrymaking by its elite followers in the weeks leading up to the austere season of Lent, helped shape carnival on the island. Carnival in Tobago has traditionally been different from that in Trinidad in part because of the former’s history of colonization. Tobago was unified with Trinidad in 1889 by which time both islands had their own identities, with the latter’s Cannes Brulées or Burning Canes (later known as Canboulay) street festival already having become the genesis of the Africans’ Carnival some fifty years earlier as an unabashed expression of their emancipation in August 1838.

In Tobago, the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church, including Carnival, were significantly absent until the early 20th century. The white and coloured elite in both islands had traditionally kept their own Cannes Brulées celebrations quite separate during the period prior to Lent. The August celebrations by the Africans continued for about ten years until it was transferred to the Catholic pre-Lenten season. It was at this time that the ruling classes’ participation in the street festival ceased.

Dancing, masking, mocking the ruling establishment and stick fighting were later joined by the organization of calypso tents and the music of steelbands; all of these elements remain part of the whole in varying degrees, making up Trinbago’s Carnival in the 21st century. Calypso and its younger but well established sibling, Soca are the driving sounds during this time with popular performers like Chalkdust, Karene Asche, Machel Montano and Super Blue vying alongside others to scoop the eminent titles of Calypso Monarch and/or Power Soca Monarch . The latter event now has a new management team in place. The Carnival season is usually well underway at least two months before, with masquerade band launch parties, calypso tents, preliminary steelband competitions and numerous other carnival related events all leading up to the last heady, frenetic week climaxing in the final two days.

J’ouvert/Jouvay Monday (taken from the French ‘jour ouvert’ which means daybreak/the day opens) is when the real takeover of the street begins, with revellers covering themselves with mud, paint and powder as they “chip” in the cool, darkness of the early morning in their respective Jouvay bands including Silver Mudders, Whyte Angels and Yellow Devils. The kaleidoscope of colour and music on Carnival Tuesday will see new bands like De Core and Flirt Carnival joining the more established bands, including Island People, Paparazzi, Tribe, Trini Revellers and YUMA to take the artistry, beauty, drama and energy of Carnival 2014 to the streets.

See the following official websites for more information:

National Carnival Commission: or

Trinidad and Tobago: the true Caribbean:

London Calypso Tent gets ready for the Notting Hill carnival season
Thu 7 Aug 2014
Notting Hill Carnival starts in October!
Mon 21 Jul 2014
USVI Soca Queen is ready to take charge
Mon 21 Jul 2014
Follow Us
Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Youtube
Share On Pinterest
Machel wins fifth power soca title, Ola takes groovy
Mon 2 Mar 2015
All Stars take ninth Panorama title, Phase II beaten into second place
Mon 2 Mar 2015
Sat 28 Feb 2015
Seychelles gets a taste of Kassav’s medicine
Fri 27 Feb 2015
Carnivals are the key to global market say Zim musicians
Thu 26 Feb 2015