A Very Vincy Carnival

My big lesson from June/July: St. Vincent is an island that knows how to party like it’s the eve of Y2K. Carnival season officially started with a launch party in early May and concluded with a Mardi Gras celebration on July 5th. One must carefully plan his/her activities and subsequent (lack of) sleep schedule during the days leading up to Carnival Tuesday, i.e. Vincy Mas, in order to fully experience the awesomeness that is this annual tradition, in all its glory, glitter, paint, and rum-punch.

The marathon party started with Soca Monarch, a concert/music competition with an audience filling the entire stadium-sized venue. The talk of the event was artist Skinny Fabulous arriving onstage via jet-pack. Yes, as in the Jetsons. My favorite part of the night? Dancing in the rain and getting covered in mud… this was my Woodstock.

Next on the agenda after a day of rest was J’ouvert (pronounced ju-vay). This may have been the most fun night out ever, as it involved dancing, bevvies, and painting the town… like, literally painting(!) the town and everyone you meet with paint handed out at the J’ourvert parties. Lucky for me, this year’s colors were two of my favorite- purple and blue- and they will forever hold an especially fond place in my heart due to the sheer joy I felt heading home at 10am looking like a beaten-up Smurf. It was that fun.

With just enough time to wash off the paint and get a few hours of shut-eye, that afternoon played host to the t-shirt band Jump-up. Jumping-up is essentially partying through the streets in a parade-like procession. Giant trucks with loudspeakers and soca artists belting out their tunes on repeat with bars-on-wheels in tow is recipe for a guaranteed good time in Vincyland. And to top it off, finally realizing who the genius was behind the song “Who Jump D Sheep” blew my mind off, as Heather would say.

And to do it up right, the last day of Carnival season – for those who choose to “play mas,” or participate in the Mardi Gras festivities – is reserved for playing an adult version of dress-up, dancing around onstage for judges/national television, and jumping-up till night falls or until your legs can’t jump-up any more. Our whimsical comb-and-brush-flower inspired costumes made for some interesting times trying to maneuver through crowds but was a great accessory for enhancing the shimmy-shake.

All in all Carnival was like a great night out that just didn’t want to end. People from everywhere on the island, the Grenadines, Volunteers, visitors, ex-pats, etc. simply having fun and letting go and celebrating being here. What a wonderful reason to come together.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Linda
    Jul 18, 2011 @ 23:59:07

    Looks like loads of fun!


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