7 Reasons You Should Go to Trinidad Carnival
Article by: Shavonn Doughlin You know that woke friend. The one who asks why you’re going to Carnival again. Like, how much fete can you justify when there are real things going on in the world? Or that co-worker, who asks questions about the expression of women in “scantily clad” costumes? Well, first of all, that’s what you get for telling your co-workers your business. And that friend — isn’t as “woke” as they might think.
Not that Carnivalists need any reason to explain why we participate in the greatest show on earth each year, but, if anyone dares to question the purpose of you going to Trinidad’s Carnival, or any Carnival, here’s 7 reasons to shut them up.
1. Work Hard. Play Harder.
The first reason you should go is because you earned the right to! You did your thing last year in the boardroom, the classroom, or the stockroom. Why not bask in your achievements by treating yourself to a well-deserved trip? Like Soca star, Machel Montano said, “Work Hard Play Harder.” Just don’t be fooled, participating in Carnival can feel like you’re putting in work too.
2. Get fit.
Which brings us to the second reason — — Exercise! Trinidad Carnival is not for the faint of heart. Where else can you party all night, sleep for one hour to get up to party again, for days, from fete to fete, until the road? While you may need a vacation after experiencing Trinidad’s Carnival, the perk is you will be toned. Sore, but toned. If anything, the pace is a reminder to stay hydrated, so you can thank Carnival for giving you the onus to treat your body well.
3. Be (Unapologetically) You — tiful.
Speaking of your body — Carnival is life because it does not discriminate. Everybody and every BODY is welcome. Carnivalists are unapologetic. There have been some folks who mistakenly shamed women for wearing mas costumes, but true Carnival goers know the beauty of Carnival is the expression of the unchained spirit and the power to embrace who you are and who you want to be. Carnival is Woman — periodt. Who wants to go to a Carnival without seeing women — in all beautiful shapes and sizes — freely enjoying themselves? Let us know how that one turns out.
Trinidad activist and writer, Atillah Springer, referred to Carnival as “a space for freedom.” The history of Carnival recounts the emancipation of slaves in 1833 and their contributions to the French colonizer’s festival in the form of Canboulay. Enslaved Africans would mock their masters, mimicking the Masquerade balls and creating their own forms of revelry, in an act of rebellion. So the freedom to enjoy life in the midst of pain and struggle is the essence of Carnival and another tidbit to remind woke folks — playing ah mas is like paying homage to the ancestors.
5. Unity, Diversity & Ownership.
If the social significance of Carnival’s history isn’t compelling enough, you can take pride in knowing you are supporting a diverse industry. According to market research, Carnival is a billion dollar industry, as the festival has spread globally from Trinidad across the world. Today, there are Carnival celebrations in 70+ cities, at least once a month and many of the people who are behind Carnival’s success are people of color. From the artisans to the concierges, the participants, and the music, when you support Carnival, you are supporting an industry built by the people who revel in it, which is something to celebrate in and of itself.
6. And now for the nerds…
Trinidad and Tobago boasts a rich culture in art, music, history, food and ecology. With its large reserves of gas and oil, Trinidad and Tobago is one of the wealthiest countries in the Caribbean. For Tobago, ecological reserves appeal to many nature-lovers, as ecotourism continues to attract visitors annually. Sites like The Tobago Forest Reserve (Main Ridge Reserve), the oldest protected rainforest in the Western hemisphere, as well as Pigeon Point, depict the island’s biodiversity. There is so much to see, taste, hear and experience outside of the Carnival, it makes a visit to the twin islands worth the trip.
7. Squad Goals
The final reason to visit Trinidad for Carnival is because it’s the ultimate #squadgoal. If you’ve never had a group of friends yelling “ayyeee!” or “woiii!” while you dance in euphoric oblivion then you’re just not living life. Although Carnival can be done alone, it most certainly is best with your besties, your crew, your aces, your squad, you get it. Besides, who is going to remind you later of all the things you did, but can’t remember? Trinidad Carnival is FOMO-inducing. If that coworker is questioning why you want to attend yet again, they’re probably a hater.
When you get back from Trinidad, gas prices will still be high, climate will still be changing and the gender wage will still be gapped. So enjoy Carnival, take a jump for those who can’t and when you post your pictures and videos on IG — tag your coworker.