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Trinidad and Tobago Carnival

Trinidad _and _Tobago _Carnival  Nothing on earth can rival the explosion of colour, music, revelry, and creativity that is Trinidad's Carnival!  The Trinidad and Tobago Carnival is the event of the year and is celebrated two days before Ash Wednesday which signifies the beginning of the season of Lent. In 2009 the Carnival season climaxed on Monday, February 23 and Tuesday, February 2 and in 2010 the carnival will take place on February 15th and 16th.  Although the Carnival officially occurs on the Monday and Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday, the celebrations start from Boxing Day and signals non-stop partying until Carnival Sunday. During this post Christmas period calypso tents open their doors to the public and cultural shows, there are massive Soca concerts, masquerade bands launch their new themes and radio stations start playing the latest Soca hits. The preliminary Panorama contests are also held which is a contest for competing steel bands in front of judges and massive crowds. 

 Trinidad and Tobago was originally a representation of French Catholic carnival celebrations, where masks were donned and social visits ensued and was mimicked by African slaves who added their own rituals and folklore to the festivities. Between Christmas and the start of Lent signaled a time for feasting, fancy dress balls and celebration for both the French and British but as more new immigrant populations entered Trinidad, the festival began to take on a new shape and has expanded into the Carnival that it is today.

 Carnival Monday
The J'Ouvert kicks off the celebrations on Carnival Monday with massive costumed bands, fuelled by the energetic rhythms of Soca music blaring from speakers piled on music trucks, taking to the street jumping up  and wining. The streets begin to rock from as early as 4am, under the cloak of darkness, as the people celebrate the island’s folklore and history. The J’Ouvert is almost ritualistic in its celebration as the revelers bathed themselves in mud, oil and paint all while depicting devils, monster and demons. As exciting and wild Carnival Monday may seem this is only a warm-up for the madness which is Carnival Tuesday. 

Trinidad _and _Tobago _Carnival_3

Carnival Tuesday
Thousands of masqueraders, dressed in full costume, impatiently wait for the 8 am start of carnival Tuesday. Broadcasted live on television, bands parade in the streets with Soca blasting from the speakers mounted on the trucks with the intent of receiving as much prizes as possible and crowned the Masquerade Band of the Year.
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Each band showcases its own historical, mythological or tropical concept with various sections depicting aspects of the main theme. The bands are divided into small, medium and large categories and judged and the winning bands are announced after all the bands finish parading in-front of the judges. 


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