What is J’Ouvert Morning?
Posted on March 6, 2014
Firstly, it is pronounced “Jou-Vay” and it is a large street party that occurs from 4am till 9am in many Caribbean islands as part of that island’s Carnival celebrations.
In the Caribbean, Trinidad has the largest and most recognised Carnival and thus the largest Jouvert parade. What has allowed Trinidad Jouvert to spiral into a national festivity is that it has been a facility for expression and entrepreneurship.
Revelers (men and women who play Jouvert) who attend this parade can choose between over 100 local Jouvert bands which offer everything from pre-parties, free drinks, gourmet breakfast to fire breathers and water trucks to accentuate the reveler’s experience. Jouvert is ‘dirty mas’ which means its one unique characteristic besides the time of Jouvert is the paint, mud and oil involved. This is not the oil from your car, regular mud and paint. Depending on your Jouvert Band or where you play Jouvert you will get several variations but generally each would be heavily diluted and treated to avoid any skin ailments and to make it easy to wash off. In Jouvert, everyone gets dirty.
This allows revelers to focus on the fun and excitement without too much concern on what they have on, or who they may be partying with. Jouvert as such forms a unique part of mas where participants can feel almost completely free to jump, wave, dance and shout with everyone else as rich, poor, white and black all look the same when covered in paint.
The general make-up of a Jouvert Band is:
- Mud and\or Paint and\or Oil and\or Powder – This is usually premixed and shared indiscriminately throughout the Jouvert Band. Every year their exists the individual who attempts to “duck the paint. Every year this individual is unsuccessful. ‘Yuh car play Mas if yuh fraid Powder” said Machel Montano (Popular Trinidadian recording artiste)
- Music Truck – This is usually very grand as 40foot trailers are converted to mobile concert PA systems capable of keeping 1000 people jumping and waving for hours.
- Drinks Truck – Most Jouvert Bands are now all inclusive. Which means you pay a fixed fee and receive unlimited drinks for approximately four hours. Some Jouvert Bands offer a full list which includes popular scotch, rum, vodka and beer.
- Jouvert Package – This refers to anything the Jouvert Band you are playing in gives you to equip you for this experience. It is usually collected two days before Jouvert and paid for weeks in advance. The package usually contains the costume (can be anything from a jersey to a 5 piece suit of different materials and accessories), a cup, bandana and a whistle.
Jouvert Bands are not owned nor operated by the government. It is the citizens and residents who are responsible for supplying the experience which is why depending on your choice of Jouvert Band you may actually have the best time of your life!
Come to Trinidad and Play Jouvert ASAP!
Or If Yuh Living in Trinidad stop making excuses about money or playing mas or you don’t like to get dirty. You can’t put a price on a priceless experience and culture, sleep is not for during the week of Carnival and once you bathe the paint will come off!
Trinidad Carnival Diary has a list of Jouvert Bands for People to choose from.
And of course I own a Jouvert Band that you can come play in at anytime!
All Photos are Courtesy JAM Carnival Jouvert Band