Recently on the 15th and 16th Feb 2016, the famous annual “Trinidad Carnival” was held. What we witnessed was a show that holds a special fascination among all. Although the dates signify just two days of celebrations, the actual festivities extend much before and after the event.
During this period the two islands of Trinidad and Tobago erupt into a frenzy of merriment and festivity as hundreds of tourists as well as locals participate in one of the most memorable street display on Earth. The islands of Trinidad and Tobago undergo a transformation which is seen to be believed.
It is one of the most eventful periods in the tourism and cultural calendar of Trinidad and Tobago and witnesses a number of musical events which are a big hit among the young and the old alike. The streets resonate with calypso and Soca music as the famous “band launch fetes” showcases the Trinidad Carnival festivity in form of costumes, limbo competitions, stick-fighting and merry-making along the beach fronts.
This is an annual event that takes place every Monday and Tuesday just before the Ash Wednesday (a day of observing a fast, and is on the first day of Lent as per Western Christianity- It falls between the 4th February and 10 March) and is famous for the participants exuberant celebrations, colorful customs and the vivid enthusiasm. It is loaded with parties and cultural competitions and brings the diverse people and culture together and is a salute to its biodiversity.
Trinidad and Tobago Carnival is a real cultural extravaganza of festivity as people are either preparing for it, or are participating in it; and brings the multi-ethnic people together.
The carnival opens on Monday with the revelers parading through the decorated streets. You can hardly recognize anyone as they are generally immersed in colors, paint, mud and grease for most of the day. This is followed by thousands of masqueraders joining on the streets early Tuesday morning, and what you are likely to witness throughout the islands is the throngs of people in groups wearing bold and colorful costumes; parading and dancing through the street. What’s sets this music apart from all other events is that the use of traditional instruments like the drums, claves, and steel pan.
One of the eagerly awaited events every year is the selection of Calypso Monarch, which is considered great honors in these music crazy islands and is one of the most awaited events. The Calypso Monarch winner gets a gift in form of a luxury car, as well as a number of other perks like being able to go live on the national radio and the television, and grabbing a number of endorsements.
The entire society participates by joining in – be it the old or the young, or from any strata- rich or not so well off. Generally, there is happiness everywhere. Children have their own brand of fun too, as they participate in the smaller “Kiddies’ Carnival” and competitions, parades and shows which start as much as a full 4 weeks earlier!