When West Indians say carnival, they aren’t talking about carousels and funnel cake; it’s about drinking all day, partying all night, getting on bad and celebrating the heritage and culture of your land.
From Brazil to the Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn and back, there are multitudes of countries that celebrate Carnival with their own flair. When it comes to the West Indies, Trinidad’s carnival is the largest of them all, but that doesn’t mean the smaller fetes don’t have their time in the spotlight as well.
Most recently, Barbados celebrated their Crop Over festival with one of the most famous Bajans of the moment, Rihanna, on the scene. Blinged out in diamonds and leotards playing traditional masquerade, Rihanna did what anyone would do during Crop Over, bent over and got down like the Bajan bad gal she is! Some understood, others called her outfits “slutty” and almost half of the internet just failed to understand the tradition that Rihanna, and thousands of others, were celebrating. In light of the aforementioned…
1. This is not the time to worry about body image:
Whether you’re big, small, tall, or short, Carnival time is the time to let it all hang out, literally. Women of all shapes and sizes take it to the street in the smallest outfits possible. Seriously, the smaller the outfit, the more wotless the party.
2. “Wukkin up” is part of the plan:
You may wrongfully categorize it as twerking when you see it on the internet and gawk at it for hours, but women of all shapes, ages and sizes getting down and shaking their bumpers pon di road is a natural occurrence at West Indian carnivals. No, it isn’t frowned upon, it’s part of the culture, and nobody’s husband, sister, auntie or wife is spared from taking a good wine during carnival, not even Rihanna.
3. Playing Mas is an expensive feat:
All these beautiful headpieces and grandiose outfits don’t come cheap! Island people take their Masquerade duties quite seriously and a eye-catching headpiece can run anywhere in the multi-thousand dollar mark, especially in the Carnival capital of the Caribbean, Trinidad.
4. This is not the time to wear your clean shoes or cute sandals:
There will be paint, powder, tar, drinks, glitter, glitter, more glitter and a whole lot of getting on bad, so carnival-goers always opt for comfortable, roomy sneakers. They can be blinged out to perfection, or left plain, as long as there is enough foot room for a full day of dancing up, jumping up and wining down.
5. Carnival is the ultimate “judgment free zone:”
This is the time to free-up your body after a year of anticipation. Forget all the beef, the social norms and all the stresses of yesterday, carnival is a celebration – so act accordingly!
PHOTO CREDIT: Splash/ Rihanna’s Instagram