About Trinidad and Tobago Carnival 2015 Events
Be part of Caribbean carnival to enjoy the biggest party events and bizarre attractions of the celebration in Trinidad and Tobago!
One of the most significant carnivals of the Caribbean is definitely the annual carnival of trinidad. The preparations start long before the carnival’s start. An explosion of colour, music, revelry, and creativity, Trinidad’s Carnival has spawned similar celebrations around the world; but nothing on earth can rival the abandon, euphoria and stunning spectacle of our festival.
History of caribbean carnival, Tobago
Like the cosmopolitan mix of peoples and cultures that shaped the island, Trinidad’s Carnival has many influences. The Spanish and English colonial powers, French planters, African slaves, Indian indentured labourers, and the many other ethnic groups that settled here have all left an indelible mark on the festival. In 1783 the French brought their culture, customs and Carnival, in the form of elaborate masquerade balls, to Trinidad along with African slaves. The period stretching between Christmas and the start of Lent was a time for feasting, fancy dress balls and celebration for both the French and British. Banned from the festivities, slaves in the barrack yards would hold their own celebrations mimicking their masters’ behaviour while incorporating rituals and folklore. Once slavery was abolished in 1838, the freed Africans took their Carnival to the streets and, as each new immigrant population entered Trinidad, a new flavour was added to the festivities. Today, our diverse culture has influenced the music, food and traditions of Carnival.
Calypsonians and soca artistes are busy composing and in some instances, recording their songs for the coming season. Some steelbands have begun to get their acts together. Mas bands have been busy producing their costumes and launching mas presentations. Fete promoters have already identified the venues for their promotions, while some have already contracted bands and artistes to perform at their 2015 carnival productions.
This is how the carnival practitioners in Trinidad have been operating on an annual basis. They do not wait until the ‘last minute’ to put their act together, and this is one of the reasons why Trinis can proudly boast that they have the “greatest show” on planet earth. Back in the 1960s, Tobago could have boasted of having a grand carnival festival but, for a number of reasons, the Tobago carnival went ‘downhill’. During this year’s Tobago Heritage Festival, the culture bosses on the island announced plans to stage elements of the heritage festival for an extended period. The reason given was for these heritage events to serve as an attraction for visitors to the island. On more than one occasion, I have quoted a statement from a former tourism minister from St. Lucia, which hosts a high profile jazz festival.The St. Lucian tourism minister made the point that it was carnival which had the greatest drawing power in attracting visitors to the island. Let us not forget that St. Lucia does not produce oil and gas; it is tourism which is the base of its economy. Now, if St. Lucia can recognise the potency of its carnival product to its tourism industry, then we in Tobago, which is part of the ‘greatest’ carnival on earth, must believe that we could do something with our carnival.
Schedule for Carnival events 2015
Each year at 4 am on Monday, Carnival begins under a cloak of darkness. Fuelled by exhilaration and the energetic rhythms of soca music, revellers take to the streets for the predawn party of J’Ouvert.
J’Ouvert (from the French ‘jour ouvert’ or ‘day open’) is almost ritualistic in its celebration of the darker elements of the island’s folklore and history. Bathed in chocolate, mud, oil and paint, bands of revellers depict devils, demons, monsters and imps. Choose your medium of expression; J’Ouvert is a time for loosening of inhibitions.
Come daytime, the J’Ouvert revelry clears and massive costumed bands of “Pretty Mas” players flood the street with riotous colour. A cast of thousands take to the street “jumping up” and “wining” (gyrating of the hips) to the sound of soca blaring from speakers piled on music trucks. The excitement is at fever pitch, but Carnival Monday is only a “warm-up” for Carnival Tuesday.
Carnival Tuesday begins promptly at 8 a.m. Thousands of masqueraders are in full costume, ready and impatiently awaiting their chance to strut in front of the television cameras as bands cross the main judging points. Each band has its own historical, mythological or tropical concept with various sections depicting aspects of the main theme.
Carnival Bands are judged in three categories: small, medium and large and winners are announced after all the bands have crossed the stage. The Champion Band is crowned Masquerade Band of the Year.Officially Carnival is the Monday and Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday but celebrations begin right after Christmas.From Boxing Day it is non-stop partying until Carnival Sunday.It is during this post Christmas period that calypso tents open their doors to the public and cultural shows, from Limbo competitions to massive soca concerts, begin. Radio stations begin to play the latest soca hits and many masquerade bands launch their new themes.
The first Panorama was held in 1963 and the preliminary contests for this annual competition are now hosted by each region (North, South, Central and Tobago) in the weeks leading up to Carnival. Held the Saturday before Carnival at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Panorama finals are the ultimate test of a steelband’s skill and selected bands compete before thousands of spectators.
Kings and Queens Costume Competition
The leaders of masquerade bands, King and Queen costumes typically weigh between 50 – 200 lbs, and depict colourful themes from nature to fantasy dreamscapes. Costumes are enhanced with lasers, fog, light shows, fireworks and sound effects.
A massive cultural show, Dimanche Gras is held the Sunday night before Carnival at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain.
Mas, steelpan, calypso and soca music are showcased at the event, which features the Calypso Monarch competition in which 10 to 12 calypso singers battle in song.
The costumes worn by masqueraders on Carnival Monday and Tuesday, these costumes can be simple or elaborate in design.
Originating in Trinidad and Tobago, calypso music or kaiso is characterized by social or political commentary and/or satirical lyrics sung to ballad style rhythms.
Derived from calypso, soca’s fast beats and saucy lyrics provide the soundtrack to Carnival. Many of the lyrics are instructional in format e.g.; “Jump and wave”.
These parties can be large or small and during the Carnival season feature live performances from soca musicians, with popular fetes attracting massive crowds.
A type of calypso where rival performers must quickly improvise entertaining lyrics, based on a given subject, before a live audience. Performers are judged on wit and lyrical ingenuity.
Originating in Trinidad and Tobago, the infectious rhythms of chutney music is derived from a combination of traditional Indian folk songs, soca and Bollywood tunes. Lyrics are sung in Hindi and/or English.