On the Day after Christmas, December 26th thousands of people all across the tiny island nation woke up before the sun rose and converged on Basseterre, assembled their troupes and started celebrating as early as 3 a.m.
This year four main troupes were assembled. Participants paid a small fee and were given a shirt, bandannas, buckets of body paint, whistles, or other costume pieces and then were also given all inclusive unlimited beer and jammed to unbelievably loud music and awaited their turn to march downtown for the J'Ouvert parade.
|Even Santa stayed in town for J'Ouvert!|
On my trip towards the downtown I saw plastic cups and various colors of body paint all over the road. The roads reeked with the smell of beer as if a brewery had exploded. I thought, "I'll bet everyone is feeling really good about now after partying for 5 hours already." I was correct.
There was a cruise ship in port for the day too, which made everything that much more exciting with a larger audience.
|These cruise ship passengers will never forget this visit to St. Kitts.|
I walked down near the circus and got up on a balcony for a better perspective where I got some really awesome pictures. The type of dancing at J'ouvert wouldn't be for everyone. It involved a lot of grinding and what I call dance walking, not the best environment for young kids, but plenty were present.
|People gathered around the Circus. The liquid on the street isn't water, it's alcohol!|
The bands and their wagons just kept on coming! All of bands were well known local bands like: Grand Masters, Kollision Band, Tombstone International, Small Axe Band,
The J'ouvert Troupes comprised of: Generation Extreme, The Red Devils (Hawaiian Style), The Carib Spartans, Small Axe and Shiggidy Shak Vikings, and Mas Jumbies Sugar Warriors.
I'm not sure which band this guy was supposed to be and I laughed like crazy when I saw him lying down on his truck. I don't know if he fell down or if it was part of his dance but his plywood sheet was pretty treacherous looking.
All of the local media folks were out, including ZIZ, who like me got a nice high vantage point at Ballahoo Restaurant.
I did get a photo later of some of the students from the St. Kitts and Nevis Carnival website.
|Some Students with Carib Spartans Troupe. Courtesy: www.skncarnival.com|
This guy above had the best costume in my book. He was with the Carib Spartans and all of his armor is made with beer bottle tabs or Carib labels. This had to have taken a long time to make. Way to go!
The above troupe is the Red Devils. This guy on the speaker wagon clearly had enough J'ouvert.
Then we had this guy: Diaper Man!
OK, you can see he has a monkey dressed in a Santa suit, but look closely on his back. Yes, there is a rooster on his back too and he could care less he was jamming right along dancing the whole time.
|Courtesy: Ricki Richardson|
|Paint man is headed to the Wet Down. Now I know where all that paint came from that was on the road.|
Every party has its casualties and J'Ouvert was no exception. Wt hat I do like about St. Kitts is that the police don't bother you as long as you're not bothering anyone else. These people would've been scooped up to jail more than likely in the U.S. At any rate, check out these J'Ouvert public casualties. I'm sure there were many more private ones the next day.
|Independence Square turned into a scene from the Night of the Living Dead.|