Trinidad & Tobago Carnival Musings 2014
Some May Agree & Others Not... This is one perception of the affect of Carnival on T&T
This post has nothing to do with pan, calypso or chutney music but Carnival and the mentality that surrounds the Carnival celebrations. It's looking at Carnival from a distinct perspective.
Sex & Carnival Babies
If your birthday falls in October or November and you live in Trinidad and Tobago, the possibility is very high that you are a Carnival baby. This is a well known Trinbago phenomenon. Herpes and the HIV virus have reduced the possibility, because like the rest of the world Trinbago citizens are acutely aware of the life threatening danger of contacting sexually transmitted diseases during the carnival season. Times have changed and now wise men and some women include a condom as part of their Carnival season partying gear. Alcohol and sex are easily mixed but there are many who are very sensitive to the possibilities and refrain altogether. There is no guarantee of getting laid because it’s Carnival
Parties & Fetes
Without a doubt, Carnival is a week long season of parties that actually climaxes at 12 PM on Carnival Tuesday night. The fetes, calypso tents, Monarch Calypso and Soca competitions and the Carnival King and Queen Show actually start in January and continue throughout the Carnival season. The season is marked by a series of large “Carnival Fetes” catering to thousands of patrons consuming alcohol or just enjoying the Calypso, Soca and now Chutney music.
For the more conservative, there are the “all inclusive” fetes or small parties that filter out the poor, lower class citizens by charging entry fees that are the equivalent of $200 to $300 USD. “All inclusive” means that patrons are allowed to eat and drink everything at the bar and on the menu at no additional cost. Patrons are ensured that they will be partying with a “respectable” crowd and security to ensure their safety.
Most foreigners believe that the entire population has a big party on the designated carnival days because it is a national event. Not so, there are thousands of Trinbagonians who head for the beaches, religious retreats or just stay home. Many despise what they call noise, wanton promiscuity and lewdness of carnival. They look at carnival as a pagan ritual that contributes to the disintegration of the society. But that’s only a small segment of the population.
The rest of the population takes the pre-season carnival season seriously. They spend thousands partying, purchasing costumes, sometimes going into debt, to “play mas” on Carnival Monday, Tuesday or both days. Carnival also attracts thousands of Trinbago citizens living in various parts of the world and others who could afford to visit including more recently celebrities from the United States.
God & Carnival
Trinidad and Tobago is primarily a secular society with most citizens belonging to one of the many religious denominations. Last year, a group of Catholics launched a carnival band in an attempt to inject some religious flavor into Carnival. They established band rules that forbade alcohol, lewd dancing or nakedness. The band attracted a few people but on a whole it was not overwhelmed.
Pentecostals and other “Born Again” denominations usually organize Carnival Camps where the children in the church are taken on excursions or week end camps to beaches and other isolated retreats. Others, forbidden to join the celebrations, take it in on the television.
Trini 2D Bone
Trinbagonians who partake in the Carnival celebrations belong to two distinct groups with a little gray area in the middle. First you have the diehard mas man who plays mas, come sun rain or shine. Every year without fail is a different “mas”. They develop concepts and demonstrate amazing creativity and talents in their presentation for the Carnival season. Some are elaborate floats or concepts taken from any part of the universe, its people and environment. Others, like what is known as “Ole Mas” are more satirical send messages or make fun of political and public people in the society.
The other distinct set of Trinbagonians are the ones who don’t play mas ever, they much prefer and enjoy looking at mas. They can be seen in the streets, in bleachers in the parks, hanging from windows enjoying the Carnival. They love the sights, sounds and colors of carnival. Many believe that if they “played mas” they would never see all that they can when they look at everyone else. Many of these people will never play mas.
Then there is the gray area of people who would play but for some reason or the other decided they could not. These people usually describe themselves as having a sickening feeling about Carnival when they can’t play. In extreme cases, they refuse to go look at the other masqueraders because they feel sick to the stomach.
So there we have it, my musings on Carnival agree or disagree, but this subjective.