In a wide variety of forms and themes, Carnival is celebrated all around the world, and while the very central spot of Carnival ambiance is the Caribbean, and within the Caribbean, it’s known that Trinidad & Tobago is where the very heart of worldwide Carnival resides. From location to location, the Carnival has beautifully merged with each unique local culture of the area, and because of a number of reasons, the celebration has been expanded to cover the entire year.
Caribbean Carnival Celebrations
With just too much fun to be contained within Trinidad & Tobago, before spreading outward to the rest of the world, the Carnival spirit of celebration contagion produced Carnival themes popping up among other neighboring islands.
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Here, it’s Vincy Mas, and it is hosted during the summer, unlike the traditional time the carnival has always been held–in the days preceding Lent. Attendees and revelers encounter all the fun and liveliness of Carnival, with calypso music and steel drums heard everywhere. The best-known aspects to this location’s Carnival style is found in their Mardis Gras and J’Ouvert emphasis.
- Martinique: This Carnival holds true to the traditional calendar spot, being just before Lent. Here, their celebration of “King Carnival” on Ash Wednesday is what puts them on the Carnival map. The celebration includes a huge bonfire where wood, reeds and other flammable materials are built to represent “King Vaval,” the king of the Carnival, and onlookers watch as the structure goes up in flames.
- Haiti: Haiti is home to one of the Caribbean islands’ largest and most prominent carnivals. Called “Haitian Defile Kanaval,” this festival covers many Haitian cities together. This Carnival site concentrates on a serious commitment to Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras, with all of the traditional components–partying, feasting, costumes, Calypso music in various forms and uninhibited celebration.
- The Cayman Islands: Batabano is the Cayman Islands brand of Carnival, and as a veritable newcomer to the Carnival-celebrating communities, and this festival focuses more on celebrating African history of the Caribbean, and even includes this celebration’s name paying homage to the tracks left in the sand by newly hatched sea turtles on their way to the sea.
- New Orleans: Carnival New Orleans style, is all-Mardi Gras, with its legendary celebration that produces those signature beads you see popping up everywhere, and every year from people who attended. With every bit of the passion and unbridled celebration frenzy that goes on elsewhere around the world, in the New Orleans tradition, it’s a Carnival season that begins after Twelfth Night on Epiphany–January 6, and ends traditionally just before Lent. Wild parades fill the streets with dancing and Calypso music. Masquerade balls are big items, as well as King Cake parties. During this season-long of parades there is one major (large) parade every day, and often several. The longest and grandest of these are held during the final five days of the celebration. Smaller Carnival celebrations are held in neighboring communities all around.