Dominica’s Carnival 2015 Opening Parade: A Spectacular, Sinister, Sensational Masquerade*

Where are you?  We're waiting for you to come to Dominica to 'play mas' with us!!!

Where are you? We’re waiting for you to come to Dominica to ‘play mas’ with us!!!

Although my mind is still on Paris, I had to pause before I chronicle my European visit to soak up the positive energy emanating from Dominica’s Carnival 2015 Opening Parade.  It was filled with all types of revelers and exhibited Dominica’s masquerade traditions to the fullest extent of the imagination.  As well as being a riot of colour, beauty and creativity , the sensuous side of the Bacchanal also intrigued thousands of satisfied spectators, who filled the sidewalks along the parade route on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Roseau.

Feast your eyes on these photos.  It is hoped they will tempt you to come to Dominica to “play mas!” If the spirit doesn’t move you this year, then plan for next! And if you’re on island, I’ll see you on the road!

A Calendar of Dominica’s Carnival Events 2015 is located here.

There was a Carnival Queen,  a King,  several Princesses big and small, as well as lovely ladies and girls set to contest crowns in upcoming pageants:

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Queen and King of the Opening Parade, Miss Dominica 2014, Francine Baron waves to her adoring admirers while seven-time Calypso Monarch 2014 Dennison ‘Dice’ Joseph smiles and gestures at his enthusiastic entourage.

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Kitana Joseph, Carnival Princess 2014 sweetly smiles at her supporters along the parade route.

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These young ladies from the Dominica State College are proud participants in this year’s ‘Jamboree’.

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The ‘Darkies’ , a traditional type of masquerader who completely covers in black body paint and attire were well represented in the Opening Parade, as usual.

There was a wonderful mix of traditional costumes in this year’s Opening Parade.  I admired the creativity, cost and construction of each one..Scary Sensays were abundant ‘on the road’  as they covered faces with masks, heads with horns or hats and bodies with colourful fabrics.

It wasn’t all fearsome though:  the female Flag Wavers and the  boys with their home-made toy trucks drew appreciation and admiration from the crowd.  Hi-fi trucks kept everyone ‘chipping’, that is moving to the beat, but there were also a number of lapo-kabwit (goat-skin) drum bands on the route, which added the traditional rhythmical twist to Dominica’s original Carnival.

Of course, there was plenty of hot attire, suggestive of the bacchanal. But there were also liberal smatterings of individual freedom of expression through Carnival costume creation, all amounting to personal joy, and immense pleasure for the onlookers. Isn’t that what Carnival is really all about, after all!

* Many thanks to Jenny Spencer for her Carnival cheer and the contribution of some of her brilliant photos!

 

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The boys displayed their hand-crafted toy trucks in large numbers. This Dominican tradition has been revived in recent years, and fathers often play a big role in providing help for this fun-filled project!

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The stilt-walkers ( also called Bwa Bwa or Moko-Jumbies) are a sight to behold. If they don’t give you the shivers, then you are not into the Spirit of the Mas(querade)!

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Watch out for those wicked Black Devils! They don’t hesitate to crack that whip on the road.

 

This was my favourite costume of the masqueraders.  Photo taken by Jenny Spencer.

This was my favourite costume of the masqueraders. Photo taken by Jenny Spencer.

The stilt-walkers fascinate me endlessly. Photo taken by Jenny Spencer.  (They intrigue her too - she watched them practising in the Botannical Gardens a number of times!

The stilt-walkers fascinate me endlessly. Photo taken by Jenny Spencer. (They intrigue her too – she watched them practising in the Botanical Gardens several times!)

The speakers on the hi-fi trucks produced a serious amount of sound. (I wore ear-plugs. Ha!) Photo taken by Jenny Spencer.

The speakers on the hi-fi trucks produced a serious amount of sound. (I wore ear-plugs. Ha!) Photo taken by Jenny Spencer.

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Wow! A veritable kaleidoscope of colour in Sensay fashion!

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Flag Wavers delighted the crows with their lively dancing routines.

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I can’t imagine singing above it all. It must be a thrill to look down on the crowd and watch the action all around!

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Traditional, rhythmical lapo-kabwit bands were out in full force. There was no reason to lose the beat with their powerful percussive sound on the road!

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Kubuli, Dominica’s refreshing locally-manufactured beer is sure to enhance the spirit of the Bacchanal!

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6 comments on “Dominica’s Carnival 2015 Opening Parade: A Spectacular, Sinister, Sensational Masquerade*

  1. Such vibrant photographs! Beautiful, Gwen. Looking forward to reading of your Paris adventures 🙂

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    • gwendominica says:

      Thanks Rachel! Carnival parades on Dominica are truly sensational, as you can see. Paris has been percolating in my brain, and should be ready to serve up soon! Hope you’re having a ‘cool’ winter in lovely London. 🙂

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  2. Susan weeks says:

    Thank you for all the good memories. We miss you.

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    • gwendominica says:

      Thanks Susan! I know that you and Alden would have really enjoyed the Opening Parade this year. It was very good – the best one I’ve seen, I think in all of my almost 18 years on the Nature Island. I will be in touch with you soon. XO

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  3. Roots Farm says:

    Ah – you roused yourself for this. Came out great.

    Looking forward to Paris.

    love, k

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    • gwendominica says:

      Yes, I was a little reluctant at first, but I think the parade did me a world of good. Admittedly, my heart is still in Paris, although my body is ready for the Carnival! My French chronicles are currently in the works!

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