Trinidad and Tobago Carnival is the country’s lifeblood. Even for those who don’t participate in the annual celebrations (and there are many who don’t), most people understand and appreciate the festival’s importance. Even aside from the economic boon it brings and the amazing range of artistry it highlights, it is a ritualistic release valve that — when done right — facilitates unity, transformation and rebirth in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious space that often wrestles with issues of race, corruption, and violence.
Because of the restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19, Trinidad and Tobago Carnival was put on hold for two consecutive years. The 2023 festival will be the first in-person celebration since the start of the pandemic. This year it takes place on February 20 and 21, and it is being met with great joy, anticipation and gratitude. From music to mas, Global Voices will be exploring different aspects of the festival and diving a little deeper to understand what makes Carnival such a treasured time in Trinidad and Tobago.
Stories about Carnival in Trinidad & Tobago
After two long years, mas has come again in Trinidad and Tobago
[T]here is a fluorescence of joy and creativity like when dawn pierces a long and unnatural dark, splitting an entire horizon with a radiance that awakens.
Trinidad & Tobago's Carnival 2023 playlist revs you up, then cools you down
More fun and fabulous tracks from 2023's much anticipated Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, which takes place on February 20 and 21.
From nostalgia to a touch of ‘horn,’ Trinidad & Tobago's long awaited Carnival has a super soca playlist
With less than a week to go until Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, the festival's soundtrack is capturing a wide range of emotions.
How one Hindu devotee is using Trinidad & Tobago Carnival's ‘Jab Jab’ character to invoke sacred, feminine power
[S]he is bringing a diasporic consciousness of Jab Jab mas as descended from India [...] defying indenture-descended, male religious prerogative over when and how she can be Indian, woman and Hindu.
Trinidad & Tobago's 2023 Carnival regulations read more like respectability politics
"Who determines what or whose representation venerates the spiritual in the mas? The mas by definition IS the spiritual and the profane. And this is an act of war."
An iPhone perspective of Trinidad & Tobago's Panorama competition
Wanting to travel light, I decided my smartphone would have to suffice for photo-taking. The results offer an on-the-ground view of the 2023 Panorama experience.
Soca star Patrice Roberts’ tribute to calypsonian ‘Penguin’ is woman power’s new take on Trinidad and Tobago’s ‘Soft Man’
Roberts’ decolonial declaration of being human on African, female terms is defined through her contemporary engagement with sexuality, gender, intimacy, pleasure, and violence.
Reel: The beauty of the Obatala Festival, an Orisha tradition in Trinidad & Tobago
Each year, Orishas participate in the Obatala Festival, which pays homage to the figure in Yoruba mythology who was charged with the task of creating the earth.
‘Joy and wonder’: Morning affirmations in preparation for Trinidad & Tobago Carnival
Breathing in joy and breathing out restriction, writer and cultural worker Attillah Springer puts people in the right head space for the first Trinidad and Tobago Carnival in two years.
Is Trinidad & Tobago Carnival's ‘Fantastic Friday’ big enough for two major soca events?
Performer Machel Montano has announced the staging of a concert on Carnival Friday 2023, clashing with the International Soca Monarch event traditionally held on the same day. Soca fans weigh in.
Misdirected outrage over U.S. actress Lala Anthony wearing a Carnival costume for Halloween was pretty scary
"[Conflating] Carnival with this image culturally, essentially waters down all the other things that make up our Carnival that we do truly consider traditional and cultural."
Are Carnival revellers in Trinidad & Tobago getting their money's worth?
Some say, "They cannot be serious." Others maintain, "You can't put a price on memories."
Trinidad & Tobago's Carnival Museum has a unique and rare opportunity
If this museum is to be "as vibrant, evocative, interactive and creative as the festival itself," it should be a fluid space that involves the people — the foundation of Carnival.
Memories of ‘mas’-making: Creating giants of Trinidad and Tobago Carnival
"As darkness falls, he will inhabit the mantel and rise twenty feet into the sodium-lit air [...] Passing traffic will slow and pedestrians will watch; some will stop and take photographs."
‘Mas’ in a time of mourning: How the spirit of Trinidad and Tobago Carnival shines through
Carnival designer Robert Young's radical concept for his band Vulgar Fraction's 2022 presentation literally embraces the roots of Trinidad and Tobago Carnival by fashioning costumes made from dried leaves and flowers.
The ABCs of Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, TikTok style
The CarnivALPHABET explores Trinidad and Tobago Carnival-related terms from A to Z, with a dash of humour.
Trinidad & Tobago's Carnival lovers will only be getting a ‘taste’ of the festival this year, but do they even want it?
While some are excited about the possibilities, others are concerned about whether the country's resources are being put to optimum use in the midst of a pandemic.
Could Miami show Trinidad and Tobago how to safely pull off Carnival in a pandemic?
"There were free testing stations, temperature checks. They followed strict protocols [...] My friends who participated are all fully vaccinated. Hoping that it wasn’t a super spreader."
Musician Chantal Esdelle on how the pandemic is bringing Trinidad & Tobago Carnival back to itself
'We get to focus on how we want to make [Carnival] work for us again: activity and participation rather than production and consumption.'
Pandemic soca: How COVID-19 is shaping the sound of Trinidad & Tobago's cancelled Carnival
There may be no physical Carnival celebrations this year, but Trinbagonian soca artists are still churning out songs, many of them around the theme of COVID-19.
The pandemic killed Trinidad & Tobago's 2021 Carnival, but soca music keeps the spirit alive
"Soca Music is an experience, nothing can beat the feeling you get when [...] you hear that one song that hits you with a wave of emotion."