Jouvert Morning has a very rich History that runs deeper than what is seen by those who first observe the wild excesses and seemingly nonsensical behaviour of the individuals taking part in the Fun.
Jouvert Morning is the traditional start of a Caribbean carnival. It is slightly different depending upon where it is taking place, but Jouvert Morning is the start of the carnival Parades that are at the Climax of the Carnival Season, unbeknownst to many, the parades that many observe in the western world are the crescendo of a Festival-Period that has spanned several days at least and several weeks at the most.
What is televised and captured on Camera most often are the colourful costumes and sometimes daringly raunchy attire that are observed during the 2 days of the last days of Carnival……However the Carnival Parade actually starts much earlier.
At approximately 4am Carnival revellers and Masqueraders will be found partying in the Dark heralding the beginning of the carnival Parade, many of these individuals will not have slept, some will have been partying non-stop for days on end celebrating over the Carnival Season.
Many will be dressed in raggedy clothes, or dress in funny clothes, others will be covered in Oil, Paint, Clay or other substances in-keeping with the way a Particular Island or Country celebrates the beginning of the last two days of Carnival.
Jouvert Morning is a fantastic, magical and wild experience that we at carnevale Network encourage everyone to try at least once, it is the traditional and darkly humourous sibling of the carnival that we see on mainstream media.
In order to find out more about Jouvert we suggest you do your research and if necessary join a Jouvert Band, find out what you can and talk to people who are there in order to find out about the background of the various practises and rituals that you see taking place.
Hidden amongst the fun and the crazy behaviour you’ll often spot old traditions like pearls hidden among the energetic activity. Jouvert-Morning seems like an alien environment to the outsider, but once you get involved you will find it one of the most welcoming and friendly places to be within the carnival as those who participate are the individuals who have truly embraced the Carnival spirit and are not there to show-off. It clearly takes a specific type of mindset (Or arguably an absence of one) to play in Jouvert Mas. And this is what many come out for. To be with others who want to discard the chains of the behaviours that are imposed upon them by the societies that they live within and are necessary for its survival, and celebrate. Laughing, Sharing and Playing in the streets.
Amazingly there is an enormous amount of people who claim to know about Carnival but have never heard of or participated within Jouvert Morning. So in order to grease-the-wheels of your participation we are listing 6 things you should consider in order to take part in Jouvert Morning.
Protect your valuables! Once you get there have you thought about how your valuables will be protected? Will you be drinking alcohol during your celebration, there’s nothing worse than sipping on your favourite drink only to find a dash of oil or paint in your cup. Use a sports bottle or something that can be sealed in order to minimise issues with any food or drink that you bring. This also goes for every other item that you bring to Jouvert. Cheap draw string-bag are a great option when it’s combined with a plastic-bag. Place your items in the plastic bag and and the plastic bag within your draw string-bag and your good-to-go. The draw-string-bag means you can carry your things on your back therefore keeping your hands-free. And the Plastic Bag within it keeps your items substance free (Just make sure the opening of the Plastic Bag is bunched up after accessing it. Wrpping things in Clingfilm is a really good option for those who intent to take Mobile Phones with them or other sensitive items.
Set your alarm, I cannot tell you how many times people have missed Jouvert morning by over-sleeping.
Prepare yourself, It’s easy for someome to treat Jouvert Morning like a warm-up parade for the Carnival Parade during the day. This assumption would be your first error (albeit an easy mistake to make) Jouvert Morring has it’s own identity, a loose set of rules, culture and atmosphere. Make sure you have prepared what you are going to wear, it’s likely to get very messy, have you thought about how you will be getting yourself clean after Jouvert and how you will travel there after you leave. (If you leave as some are often known to party throughout the day and leave only once night falls) Do you know where you are starting from? As depending upon which Carnival you are taking part in the starting point for Jouvert Morning can vary, particulary if you have joined a Jouvert Band. Do you have something to get yourself and others Messy with? And is it appropriate? The substance that you choose is important and should be considered. You can’t just go around throwing anything about. And particular people such as the Jab Jabs of Grenada take great pains to ensure that the oil is the only messy material that touches their skin. You may find people playing Ole Mas during the Jouvert celebrations(Ole Mas is a form of Satrical Poitical or Social Commentary) and they might not take kindly to their costume being spoiled as it will harm their message. Others may be dressed in a costume of some kind which should be kept as clean as possible, much effort and thought will probably have gone into it so getting it messy will be the last thing they want to happen. With this understood a quick look around will be all you need to see who is getting messy and who isn’t and if you are unsure I always find asking first is the best policy. With this said, people who are going to Jouvert know what they are getting into. And it’s precisely the fact that they have no idea how the fun will unfold that they will enjoy the most. Put some thought into what your wearing, dress in gear that’s protective, or portrays a character or message, or wear very little at all. What ever you do make sure you’ve thought about it and you should do just fine
Make sure your rested, If it’s your very first Jouvert Morning and you are not used to waking up at strange hours then we recommend getting some rest, make sure you go to Sleep AT LEAST by 9pm. For those a little more adventurous it’s possible for you to go to bed a little bit later, but only do this if you have a good reason i.e. you had to stay late at Mas Camp to collect you Carnival Costume for the last day of the Parade, or you were out at a Fete (A Party) or Liming (Chilling) with some of your buddies.
Make sure you have arranged things with your friends, ensure you have thought about how you’ll be meeting up, travelling to and from Jouvert Morning. Are you coordinating your appearance or have you all joined the same Jouvert Band? Make sure you have a contingency plan for the unexpected. I find it good practice to agree to give everyone a call or a text message of some kind when you wake up in order to sort out any thing that may have cropped up and threatens to derail your Jouvert experience.
Make sure you are Safe, this includes not drinking too much, making sure that you have had enough rest, if necessary, and we recommend eating something before you take part in Jouvert Morning. Trouble should be at an absolute minimum. One of the best things about Jouvert Morning is that it is often quite clear who is and is not taking part, so steer clear of the onlookers where possible, while at the same time remember that you and the other masqueraders are a sight to behold and this may be the first time they are seeing Jouvert Morning take place. Always be observant and respectful of those around you and most of all have fun!
These are not hard-and-fast rules by the way but we hope they give you an idea of how you should be thinking about your first Jouvert Morning. Remember, Jouvert Morning is very much it’s own Animal with regards to how it should be approached. But this is what makes it such a fantastic part of the Carnival Season as it adds a completely unique dimension and contrast to the rest of the Festival.
Play Safe and we'll see you on the road!