Traditional Carnival Characters Festival Trinidad Carnival 2017

The Traditional Carnival Characters Festival was held on the afternoon of February 24 starting at noon. Not a lot of time to recuperate from Canboulay and the traditional Mas that morning. This parade features both grownups and kids dressed as the classic carnival characters.

Here's a group of kids in Pierrot Grenade costumes. Pierrot Grenade is a descendant, and satire, of the Pierrot, a French pantomime character, with a costume made from colored strips of cloth replacing the more elegant wear of his predecessor. A traditional white mask hides his identity as he makes disparaging comments about the "higher class" members of the community and displays his erudition by spelling long words in ingenious ways.
Here we have another bunch of kids dressed as monkeys taking advantage of a temporary halt in the parade. Good thing monkeys can't read the "No Parking" sign.
This fancy sailor is getting a dose of his own medicine. Sailor mas became popular in the 1880's with the arrival of foreign naval vessels. Fancy sailors are know to sprinkle spectators, and themselves, with talcum powder.
These girls have great looking costumes.
This Burrokeet costume portrays a rider on a small burro and was popular in both India and Venezuela before appearing in Trinidad.
These Jab Jab's are a fancier form of devil mas with the addition of a whip, whose loud cracks intimidate spectators.
Fancy Indian costumes can get elaborate.
Dame Lorraines come in all shapes and sizes. This character was meant to satirize the wives of the French planters. They were traditionally worn by men.
These Moko Jumbie are the protectors of the village. The name is derived from the West African god "Moko" and jumbie, or ghost. It was believed that the height of the stilts allowed him to foresee evil better than ordinary people. They also came in handy for collecting money from people on balconies.
Jab Molassie come in various colors but blue seems to be the most popular. They are usually accompanied by "imps" beating out a rhythm on cracker tins who attempt to restrain them by pulling on a rope tied around them. They harass onlookers with loud screams until they put money in their bags. Here we have a rare blue devil with blue eyes.
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All photos © 2017 Bob Williams

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