An explosion of colour, music, revelry, and creativity, Trinidad & Tobago's Carnival has spawned similar celebrations around the world; but nothing on earth can rival the abandon, euphoria and stunning spectacle of the islands’ biggest festival.
More than steelpan, masqueraders and calypso, Tobago's Carnival celebrations embrace many of the island's traditions. Speech bands, whip wielding devils called jab jabs (from French diable), bottle and spoon bands and African drumming are incorporated into the island's celebrations.
The two day climax of pre-Lenten Carnival celebrations kick off between 4 and 5 am on Carnival Monday with J'Ouvert (French patois for opening of day). J'Ouvert revellers covered in mud, men dressed as women or costumed in nightgowns and waving chamber pots, party till daylight on the streets of Scarborough, Tobago's capital. From around noon on Carnival Monday to late Carnival Tuesday, Scarborough belongs to the revellers of masquerade bands - largely comprised of women in revealing feathered and sequined costumes.
In the weeks prior to Carnival, Tobago also hosts cultural events. There are calypso competitions, where the island's calypsonians compete to be crowned Calypso Monarch. Calypso tents showcasing the island's singing talents spring up and steelbands compete for a chance win the title of Tobago Panorama Champions.