Carnival: What about the non-reveller?
  Linda Davis
February 2020

Carnival: What about the non-reveller?

Special Thanks to Ms. Sephra Alexander

The “greatest show on earth” is on this 24th and 25th February, 2020 in Trinidad and Tobago. As we get ready to celebrate we are mindful that not everyone is buoyed by all the activities and some even shy away from them altogether.

Several competitions, for example the Soca Monarch as well as the Chutney Soca Monarch, are held prior to Carnival Monday and Tuesday. Both individuals and groups employ amazing creativity while vying hard to win.

On Carnival Tuesday, various bands play songs by their favourite artistes to accompany their parades. The winner of the Road March competition is determined by how many times their songs are played.

The steelpan, which is the only musical instrument invented in the 20th century, was created in Trinidad and Tobago and steelpan groups compete in what is called “Panorama”. This Panorama competition plays a key role in Carnival celebrations.

The diverse ethnic groups which embellish the canvas of Trinidad and Tobago's history (for example African, East Indian, Amerindian, Chinese and European descendants) have all influenced the development of Carnival. The colourful costumes used in masquerading and Ole Mas—some, breathtakingly extravagant and others, magnificent in their simplicity—reflect, to a significant extent, the uniqueness of our cosmopolitan society. It is indeed a spectacular sight to behold. Participation in a festival of this magnitude therefore, usually requires unrelenting zeal as well as a considerable endowment of rhythm.

So are you a real reveller? Doh 'fraid powder? Loose? Does your heart beat in perfect synchrony with the vibrant sound of soca, the rhythm that gives you powers to etch your name in the streets of Port-of-Spain? Well, if your answer to one or more of these questions is "No", and pallancing admist the joyous pandemonium of Trinidad and Tobago Carnival celebrations is not precisely your cup of tea, there's good news! Firstly, you will not be sentenced to exile; and secondly, there's a plethora of other thrilling, intriguing and even addictive activities that you can engage in without the psychological pressure of feeling that you're missing in action, over the Carnival weekend. Who knows? In so doing, you might just meet other persons for whom Carnival is not the craze.

Interviews on this topic of interest were conducted by members of the Paradise Pulse Team at various locations. To our delight, a significant fraction of interviewees revealed that, over the Carnival weekend, they normally secure their R and R in uninterrupted periods of disport at local beaches. The more popular sites associated with this form of recreation include the Maracas, Mayaro, Manzanilla, Las Cuevas, Salybia and Tyrico Bays as well as the newly reconstructed Chaguaramas Boardwalk, which has, in recent times, become a popular “liming” spot in West Trinidad.

We found that many Trinidadians—and Tobagonians residing in Trinidad—use the Carnival season as an opportunity to visit the sister isle. While the former of these groups generally seek to lie sun kissed in sultry weather, watching the swash of effervescent waves upon the shores of Storebay, Pigeon Point or other Tobago beaches, the latter would normally bond with relatives back home, and neighbours within their previous villages. If you've had the opportunity to touch down in Tobago multiple times however, we understand that you may prefer another destination for a mini vacation. In this connection, it would be worthwhile to familiarise yourself with the unique patrimony of another Caribbean country and augment your appreciation for the diversity of our culturally, socially and socio-historically sui generis region.

Notably, despite the apparent thrill and fulfilment found in travelling to neighbouring islands, on tour throughout Trinidad, we also discovered that some individuals, though small in number, would be content to remain at home, cook their "peas pelau" and spend quality time with their families there.


So you're no big fan of Carnival? Take a hike! — literally. It is an undertaking that is thoroughly enjoyed and transcends demographic barriers, including age, ethnicity, social class and geographic location. Hiking would be both beneficial to your health and a valuable opportunity for networking.

Two members of Island Hikers bathe in the Morang Polls at El Tucuche, Trinidad

Above: a brilliant overhead view of Maracas Bay taken by a member of Island Hikers during a climb to the summit of Trinidad’s second highest peak—El Tucuche.

And now for a personal favourite — the camp junkies! (Youth groups are replete with these things). Several persons join in retreats facilitated by community youth groups, churches or other social groups. These events are generally quite instrumental as catalysts for multi-dimensional personal development, in terms of goal-setting, spirituality, communication skills, teamwork, career guidance, physical health and even home economics. Popular sites selected for this purpose are Turning Point in Maracus, St. Joseph and Victory Heights, located in Tunapuna Piarco. Some may be more fascinated by the latter, given the relatively wide range of activities which this setting accommodates, including zip-lining.

Some of our Hindu and Muslim brothers and sisters have also chosen to avail themselves of some rest and relaxation while steadily maintaining equilibrium with the principles of their sacrosanct creed.

Certainly, should you embrace one of these options, you are very likely to be just as thrilled—or fulfilled—as those revelling in the cities and boroughs of Trinidad and Tobago, on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. It also makes you no less of a Trinbagonian!

By: Linda Davis | FEATURES | February 2020

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