The Jouvert parade happens at night in the early hours of the morning until the sun rises. People bathe themselves in chocolate, mud, oil and paint and pretend to be devils, demons, monsters and imps. The blue devils are very scary. They shriek, chant and jab their pitch forks at the crowd. The people watching give the blue devils some money.

Imagine coverng yourself with mud and dancing through the streets Wouldn't that be fun?

Mas Bands

A mas band is an organised group of people who wear carnival costumes designed by a costume designer. On Carnival day there can be between 50 to 100 mas bands performing through the streets.

Did you know a mas band can have up to 5000 people performing in their group on Carnival day?

The flag dancers do exciting dance steps and trick to show their skill.

It’s really exciting getting ready on Carnival day, putting on your costume, make-up and face paint. My favourite part of the day is dancing through the streets in the mas band. We chip, wine and jump-up to the beat of the music as we show off our costumes to the crowd.

‘Jump-up’ is a jumping up and down movement with lots of energy. People will also wave their hands, a bandana or flag in the air as the jump-up. 

‘Wining’ is a circular movement of the hips. 

‘Chipping is a marching shuffle performed with bent knees and hips that swing from side to side.

Kiddie’s Carnival

Children can start being a part of carnival from any age. Some parents will decorate their children’s prams before they can even walk.

Many schools design and make their own costumes to take part in a local carnival parade. Some children will design costumes inspired by traditional carnival characters. Others will design costumes inspired by superheroes, animals and their favourite stories.

If you had to design a carnival band what theme would you choose? What colours would you use? Remember bright colours look great in the sun.

Here are some ideas you could use:

  • Fruits
  • Endangered animals
  • Undersea creatures
  • Birds
  • Dragons
  • Fairies
  • Numbers
  • Your favourite poem or story
  • The planets
  • The Romans
  • Africa
  • India


Question 9: How can you find your nearest carnival and get involved?

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Illustrations © Rhian Kempadoo-Millar
Banner photo © Tony Bartholomew (2019)