When it comes to Carnival, Trinidad & Tobago, the most loving and accommodating twin Island Republic State is the first place that the rest of the world refer too.
Carnival is a cultural tradition originated mainly in Trinidad & Tobago, emanating out of slavery.
Trinidad & Tobago is known as the original Mecca of Carnival. J’ouvert is an integral part of the entire Carnival celebration.
Trinidad & Tobago’s carnival mainly comprises of, Steel-drum music, Mas, Calypso & Soca music, arts, crafts, foods, competitions, parties and many other festivities.
According, to one of the best descriptions of J’ouvert, I refer you to the following website article; itzcaribbean.com/carnival/jouvert
Jouvert Carnival Tradition
J’ouvert or Jouvay is at the heart of Trinidad carnival, and is also celebrated in other Eastern Caribbean islands. The name J’ouvert originates from the French jour ouvert, meaning daybreak or morning, and signals the start of the bacchanalia that is Carnival.
Jouvert is highly traditional and full of symbols culture and heritage. It is steeped in tradition and playing mud mas involves participants known as Jab Jabs. covering themselves – from head to toe – and others in paint, chocolate, mud, white powder, or anything for that matter. It is Jouvert custom that everybody gets involved and it’s common to see a newcomer being hugged by a muddy reveler.
This traditional part of Carnival starts at around 2 in the morning and finishing after sunrise. Calypso and soca music are the dominating sounds of Jouvert in Trinidad the mass of revellers takes the street party winning and chipping their way to the savannah in Port of Spain in the early hours of Lundi Gras, before the daytime carnival parades.
The roots of Jouvert in Trinidad go back 200 years, with the arrival of French plantation owners. The French never colonised Trinidad, however elements of their culture remained. J’Ouvert evolved from the Canboulay festivals in the 1800’s, which were nighttime celebrations where the landowners dressed up and imitated the negres jardins (garden slaves). Following emancipation, the newly freed slaves took over canboulay, now imitating their former masters imitating them.
Canboulay revellers, who carried lighted cane torches, were seen as a potential risk by the authorities, and the tension mounted leading to the Canboulay riots. It was eventually banned, and then was reestablished as Jouvert.
The spectacular costumes represent characters and events from the history and folklore.
Moko Jumbie Bats, Bookmen, Baby dolls, jab molassie, devil mas are all traditional Carnival characters that capture the elements of the past and continue to tell the story.
Michael B. Jordan under fire over name of his rum brand
Actor and Newark native Michael B. Jordan is renaming his rum brand, J’Ouvert, after being accused of cultural appropriation.
According to photos published from the rum brand’s launch party last weekend, the rum J’Ouvert was advertised as a tribute to a yearly Caribbean carnival celebration by the same name.
But the rum’s branding did not sit well with many people, including some high-profile government ministers and celebrities.
Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon called the issue a matter “of extreme concern” in an interview with Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.
Trinidadian rapper Nicki Minaj also spoke out against the rum trademarking on Tuesday in an Instagram post, calling for Jordan to change the rum brand’s name while going into the cultural history of the festival.
“I’m sure MBJ didn’t intentionally do anything he thought Caribbean ppl would find offensive,” Minaj said. “But now that you are aware, change the name & continue to flourish & prosper.”
Hours later, Jordan posted a statement to his Instagram story apologizing for any offense he may have caused and announcing that he and his business partners would be changing the name of the brand.
“I just wanna say on behalf of myself and my partners, our intention was never to offend or hurt a culture we love and respect and hoped to celebrate and shine a positive light on,” Jordan wrote.
“We hear you,” he added. “I hear you and want to be clear that we are in the process of renaming.”
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