Sunday, 30 April 2017

JAMAICA CARNIVAL 2017 - Do it for the culture

Jamaica is a country of polarisations. 

I thought for a while about how I would approach this post. I could discuss Soca* vs. Dancehall... uptown vs. downtown... inclusivity and accessibility... class, whiteness, browness, blackness... very valid and important topics that mean a lot to Jamaicans, but would probably not mean much to foreigners. Because in foreign white is white and black is black and brown is black, uptown doesn't exist and we all take public transport. 

I decided that's not what I wanted to write about, because that's not what the carnival week meant to me. 

All I wanted from Carnival was revelry, wildness and a likkle bit a freedom.

So leave any badmind at the door and come and have an adventure with me!

*(Please see the end of the article for a quick Caribbean Carnival vocabulary lesson)

If you're not from the Caribbean your experience of Carnival might be Notting Hill Carnival in London or photos of Rihanna & co. *whinin' on Instagram. 

The season long lead up to the big Road March (always on a Sunday) is a whirlwind of *Fetes, *J'ouvert parties and general madness. 

Up to a year before the Carnival week begins men and women are hitting the gym, going *Bacchanal parties and looking out for the next Soca song of the season. People take off time from work, some take out loans (yes, for real), and some save up all year to get on bad during Soca season.

Preparation can include, but is not limited to:

  • Hair
  • Make up
  • Gems
  • Nails
  • Brazilian waxes
  • Spray tan/ Body make up
  • Road March Costume, plus shoes/boots & fishnet tights
  • Tickets for pre-carnival parties (To name a few: Beach Jouvert, Town Jouvert, I <3 Soca, Private Ryans party, Ceasar's Army Party, Sunrise Breakfast Party etc.)
  • Outfits for all the parties you intend to go to. (And we all know how Caribbean people stay, you can't wear any outfit more than once)
You get the idea... you're lucky if you don't need a loan. 

For the first time in Jamaica there were 4 different *Carnival Band options: Bacchanal, Jamaica Carnival, Xamayca Carnival and Xodus Carnival. 

All my friends were *jumpin' with Xodus Carnival - A new Carnival experience, a merger between Jamaica's own Dream Entertainment Ltd. and Trinidad's premier Carnival Band Y.U.M.A. 

We bought the costumes online via their website, but you don't receive the costumes until a few days before the big event.

How it all works is that you buy a 'package' that includes: 
  • Your choice of around around 14 different Costumes (front line = more feathers, gems & money, back line = less feathers, gems & money) 
  • Premium drinks included all day 
  • Lunch (choice between Italian, Jamaican, Chinese) 
  • A cute goodie bag with some treats like mini rum bottles, gum, chocolate, one sippy cup with straw for maximum drink mobility etc. 
  • Fresh coconuts on the road
  • A day long party, starting at 10 am and finishing in the night
So now for the photos!

Getting ready = My Victoria's Secret Moment

Finished! Costume name = X-ctacy Back line. 

One Appleton rum and coconut water, please!

(Not me or my photo, but it was too cool not to share)

Video from @xoduscarnival Instagram

Video from @coreymus Instagram


  • Soca Music - Genre of music for Carnival, not going to give a lesson on this one, wikipedia is free. 
  • Fetes - Soca parties
  • Carnival Band - the group of people you are jumpin' with. You will all have costumes provided by the same company, drinks from the same trucks and will have lunch at the same spot. 
  • J'ouvert - Large street parties during the Carnival season, usually involves colourful paint being thrown over the revellers.
  • Jumpin' - Participating in the Carnival Road March, meaning you got the costume/ t shirt  
  • Whinin' - Caribbean way of dancing, like in the videos above. NOT twerking.
  • Bacchanal - A large party or celebration
  • Tabanca - Feeling of forlorn sadness and longing when the Soca season is done and you have to go back to real life. 

There you have it. The Carnival tabanca is so real!

x o x o


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