Saturday, January 25, 2014

Carnival Grand Parade

The Carnival Grand Parade... In my opinion this is the best event of Sugar Mas because of the creativity of the costumes, the beautiful colors, the atmosphere, and the variety.

The Carnival Grand Parade took place on January 1st or New Years Day, as it always has. After nearly a month of celebration events I thought that everyone would be partied out, but I was wrong. 

The Grand Parade began in Greenlands, which  would basically be seen as Northeastern Basseterre to the visitor. So far, up to that point, as with most events in St. Kitts, all of the events ran around an hour to two hours later than what they were supposed to. I was pleasantly surprised when I trotted up to Cayon Street to find the parade had actually begun and a very large crowd had formed as an audience.

The first group that came through while I was there was the Masquerade group. These groups consisted of two drummers, one a snare and the other a deeper bass. The members danced in step and marched to it also. The dances performed are thought to be a combination of Native American and African.

The cutest were these two little guys, who were so little they couldn't keep the heavy wooden and feathered hat on.

The next group were the many Clown groups. The colors were quite a treat for the eyes. No two were alike.
The wire masks represent The Europeans and many carried whips, which they often cracked. This particular "play" that they put on I believe goes back to the story in the early 1900s of the Bull on a European's plantation that went wild. The melee that ensued is portrayed to this day in most of St. Kitt's cultural events.


Then we had the Moco Jumbies. Moco is a god in Africa, more precisely in The Congo, Nigeria, and somewhat still today in Trinidad and Tobago. Jumbie is a West Indian term meaning...ghost. The Moko is believed to live on stilts, towering over the earth and humans. Again, another example of the combination of African and Caribbean cultures intermingling.

These guys are really impressive and many I recognize from other events. The Moco Jumbie below actually fell down right in the middle of the street in front of the large crowd. He was fine with nothing more than his pride bruised and he pointed to the road in embarrassment and justification. Honestly, the roads here are bad and it's amazing they don't fall more often. These guys actually dance on one stilt too. It's a must see!

These two pictures are some of my favorites because the wind blew just perfectly to plume out this clowns outfit and make him even scarier. The picture below is cool because of the artwork on his back, denoting "Sugar Mas," way to represent!

Up to that point I was impressed, but what I really wanted to get pictures of were the young beautiful ladies in their uniquely feathered and vibrant outfits. Alright, so some people weren't young and others maybe weren't model like, but I give them credit for literally putting everything out there and having fun. I didn't do it, but I'm considering it for next year.

Each troupe had a theme. Hence, the various colors and outfits.

I like how this photo's colors turned out.

This couple is at a lot of cool events.

Check out the lady on the right. The headdress was Huge!

I'll bet her arms were getting tired!

I like the St. Kitts colors in this group.
This was an interesting site. This guy must have either been late for his troupe, injured, or just didn't want to walk. It still made for a cool picture.

This troupe's costumes reminded me of a cross between the Statue of Liberty, Superheros, and space outfits.

At that point quite a few troupes had come through, but there were many more to see. I had to get back home and check on baby Clara, who was with my wife while I was out enjoying one of the coolest parades I've ever seen. I really wanted to stay and see what was coming next.

Make sure if you come to St. Kitts for vacation, to visit, or already live here that you don't miss St. Kitt's Sugar Mas Grand Carnival Parade. It only takes place once a year and is definitely a cultural spectacle that you don't want to miss.