27 - 28 Feb
National Carnival Commission of Trinidad & Tobago (NCC)

Trinidad & Tobago Carnival

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Introduction

Representing more than 500 years of European and African cultural heritage, Carnival was originally a Catholic festival, a final fling before the denial of the flesh ordained by Lent. Today, however, it is a show of cultural expression and solidarity, and occurs at different times of the year on many of the islands.

Carnival season is party season, and in Trinidad it begins many months in advance. There are mas band launches, large fêtes, and calypso tents where contenders for the Calypso Monarch crown perform nightly. No carnival would be complete without the various competitions that highlight the thought, skill and creativity on which each component of the festival is based. After weeks of intense preparation, steelbands deliver their best interpretations of leading party tunes and custom-made pan songs at the Panorama finals.

The climax to it all, however, takes place on the Monday and Tuesday which precede Ash Wednesday. Festivities begin on the streets in the small hours of Carnival Monday morning, with J’Ouvert. In Trinidad this includes a celebration of ‘ole mas’ or ‘dirty mas’, when many revellers, their bodies smeared in tar, oil, paint or mud, take to the streets. They wear costumes made of rags and old clothing, portraying all kinds of ghouls and devils.

Later in the day, the big mas bands and spectators converge on the streets for the parade of the bands in the heart of the capital. On these two days, thousands of masqueraders take full possession of the streets in the main cities and towns. They wear carefully crafted costumes, portraying themes inspired by nature, history or simply a fertile imagination. On the road, much of the music is supplied by DJs on big trucks, although some of the larger bands hire popular artists to provide live entertainment and others prefer to move to the sound of the steelbands.

It all comes to an end on Tuesday, at the stroke of midnight, with Las Lap - the concluding chapter of this wild array of sound and colour, when there’s just a little bit more dancing and following of trucks, to the very bittersweet end.

Time

7am - 7pm

Route

The main Carnival celebrations take place in the capital where mas bands make their way along a predefined route through the streets of Port of Spain.

But carnival isn't just reserved for Port of Spain as there is also carnival celebrations taking place in San Fernando in the South of Trinidad.

Steel Bands

Phase II | Trinidad All Stars Steel Orchestra | Renegades Steel Orchestra

Music

Destra vs Lucy
2017 | T&T
227 Views
Carnival Love
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180 Views
Right Dey
2017 | T&T
116 Views
Middle
2017 | T&T
149 Views
Keep It Pumping
2017 | T&T
103 Views
Doh Hurt Ya Head
2017 | T&T
82 Views
Big Girl Now
2017 | T&T
104 Views
Back Ah Siparia
2017 | T&T
70 Views
Vikash
2017 | T&T
64 Views

Video

Coming soon

Food

Pelau | Doubles | Bake & Shark

Drink

Rum

Travel

Air: British Airways direct from Gatwick London to Piarco International Airport (Trinidad) or Crown Point Airport (Tobago) and a connecting flight on Caribbean Airlines.

British Airways or Virgin Atlantic to Barbados and then a connecting flight on Caribbean Airlines.

Note: An economy passenger travelling on Virgin Atlantic or British Airways is ONLY allowed 1 piece of luggage weighing 23kg. However, extra baggage allowance can be purchased online (at the respective airline’s website) for £32 or at the airport for £40.

Getting Around:The main forms of transport are maxi taxis, air conditioned buses and taxis (H Registration taxis are those operating legally) which charge flat fares for various destinations. Taxis can either be hired in full to take you to your destination or they can be shared with other passengers and taken to specific areas.

Most areas are accessible by maxi taxi from City Gate in the heart of Port of Spain. Buses are better for travelling to main towns like Arima, Chaguanas, San Fernando. Maxi taxis have no set times and there are different stands for different destinations.

There is also the possibility of car hire or hiring a maxi taxi for large group excursions.

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