Trinidad and Tobago Carnival


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Trinidad and Tobago Carnival

Between February 2 and March 8; Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday
One of the most spectacular and frenzied Carnival celebrations before Lent, the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival is a non-stop 48-hour festival in which almost everyone on the island participates. It started out in the late 19th century as a high-spirited but relatively sedate celebration involving a torchlight procession in blackface called canboulay —from cannes brulÉes, or "burned cane"—patterned after the procession of slaves on their way to fight fires in the cane fields. There was also music in the streets and masked dancing, although slaves were not permitted to wear masks. With the emancipation of the slaves, Carnival became a free-for-all with raucous music and displays of near-nudity. The government tried to crack down on the celebrations, but in 1881 there were canboulay riots in which 38 policemen were injured. After that, a law was passed that forbade parading before six o'clock in the morning on Carnival Monday. That moment is still known as jouvÉ (possibly from jour ouvert, or "daybreak").
Today the main events are the two carnival day parades, which involve 25 to 30 costumed bands, each with about 2,500 marchers and its own king and queen. There is a calypso competition in which steel bands and calypso composers vie for the title of "Calypso Monarch." Few get any sleep during the two-day celebration, and the event ends with the las lap, which is a wild, uninhibited dance in the streets.
CONTACTS:
National Library and Information System Authority of Trinidad and Tobago
National Library Bldg., Hart and Abercromby Streets
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, West Indies
868-623-6962; fax: 868-625-6096
www.nalis.gov.tt
SOURCES:
EncyEaster-2002, p. 610
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 148
GdWrldFest-1985, p. 175
References in periodicals archive ?
The Notting Hill Carnival is so big it can easily be compared to the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival or the carnival in Rio de Janeiro.
A STEEL pan playing father and son from Great Barr are celebrating after taking the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival by storm.
Calypso music and colourful costumes will give the floats the flavour of the Trinidad and Tobago carnival.
The band is now gearing up for the biggest party in the Caribbean, The Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, and readying their first single, "I Promise You," featuring AKON, to hit the U.
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