Friday, April 19

Carnival in Carriacou

Carnival, pronounced car-ni-VALL (rhymes with ball), is essentially one big PARRR-TAY!!  We had been dreaming of experiencing and participating in carnival since the moment we decided to take this trip.  We plotted, skeemed and changed our plans several times, just to make sure we were somewhere where we could be apart of the culture.  The original plan was to go to carnival in Columbia and then Trinidad, one of the biggest celebrations in the world.  We scrapped that idea after getting just a wee taste of it during Dominica's opening ceremony.  We decided a small town shindig might be more appropriate for the kids and a little easier to navigate without losing someone.  

We altered our plans and spent less time in Grenada just to partake in the Carnival festivities in Carriacou.  We arrived just a day before the party began.  Erica and I scoured the internet and went ashore hoping to find some printed information on when and where the activities took place.  No such luck.  Smacking our foreheads with the palm of our hands, we remembered that we were in the islands and everything runs on island time.  Who were we to expect anything to be printed on paper and events to actually happen when they said they would.  So, we did the next best thing....asked the locals.  They all looked at us like we had 3 heads and didn't know anything more than we did.  We even resorted to asking the police officers, who were a little more helpful, but found it entertaining that 2 white women wanted to know so many details about carnival.  Exhausted by 8 o'clock at night, we returned to the boat with a vague plan to watch and listen from the boats.  We did find out that Jab Jab started at 5am and was literally a continuation from the Calypso band competition that started that night at 9pm (or when ever they got around to it).

Hillsborough, Carriacou

Welcome to Carriacou

This guy is not dead, I promise.  Perhaps, he had a little too much fun for one morning.  This was the scene on the dock when we arrived at 7:30.  That's as early as we could get up!  Jab Jab or Jouvert starts very early and supposedly ends at sunrise.  It is a blend of french words Jour Ouvert (open day).  To be apart of Jab Jab, you cover yourself in body paint or oil, depending on the mas color you join.
Open Day). This street party ended a few hoursafter sunrise. To be part of the Jab Jab y
The party was in full swing and it was well past sunrise.  However, it's really hard to imagine what this was really like because you are missing.....

...the incredibly, obnoxiously, base thumping, can't hear yourself talk LOUD music!  It doesn't even phase these people to be standing this close to the speakers.  Craig said that we didn't have to breath, the concussion of the base would literally move air in and out of your lungs.

I guess he was part of the 'Lavender Mas'

This group is part of the Black Mas.

Kids washing off the paint in the water.

Yummy homemade coffee cake, mango and papaya for breakfast after our Jab Jab orientation

The many boats lined up at the pier.  People come from all over to join in the party

If you look closely, there is a gentleman passed out on the beach oblivious to the waves crashing over his feet.  This was in the afternoon when we came back for the parade.

The 'dinghy' dock was so full of dinghies, small fishing boats and big fishing boats, that we asked to tie up to one of the big boys.  We had to climb from our dinghy into the first fishing boat (more like pull the kids up by the arms) and then jump to the second fishing boat that he was tied to that was finally tied to the dock.  The most interesting part, was traversing over yet another passed out dude, right in the middle of the first fishing boat.  There was never a dull moment!

Police presence before the parade 

Cruising kids being resourceful.  Passing the time collecting, sorting and playing games with beer caps. We were told by the ladies getting dressed in costume that the parade would start at 2pm.  Finally, someone knew something.  However, it didn't actually start until after 4pm!  Go figure.

Anticipating the parade to start

The parade would not be complete without the very LOUD music on wheels!

The first lively group of ladies

Sunglasses: $15
Costume:  $50
Bodacious Tah Tahs:  Priceless


Love their spirit!

I am not sure if Bryson wanted to hug her or run away

Even the men join in the parade - with way more clothing than the women!

Each group was preceded by a homemade banner of some sort

Isn't she the cutest thing you have ever seen?

Pretty cool costume!

Good ship lollipop!

Alladin's brother perhaps?

Kids participate too

A clown???

Having fun at the parade

DAY 2:  "Shakespeare Mas"

Another carnival tradition is Pierrot, aka Shakespeare Mas.  On Fat Tuesday, pairs of masked, costumed men, move from town to town on the island, reciting Julius Ceasar.  When a mistake is made, they hit each other over the head with a stick.  Sounds like a whole lot of fun, right?  Who wouldn't want to be hit over the head with a stick.  We were warned that it looked more violent than it was.  Really?

Kids start learning Shakespeare at a young age.  They didn't hit each other but rather just hit sticks like fencing.

Standing on top of a fence post trying to get a good view of how this whole Shakespeare Mas works.

The crowd moves in to listen and cheer the competitors.  

Apparently this is a carryover from the plantation era when slaves were forced to perform for their owners (and hit if they made an error).  In today's performances, things are toned down a bit with lots of padding and less violent hitting.

Hugs all around in the end 

The face of a man having a good time!

The Hillsborough anchorage

Smoothie time...a reward for enduring the Shakespeare Mas

A little afternoon sail

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