J’ouvert (pronounced “Jou-vay”) is derived from French patois and means ‘daybreak’. Jouvert marks the official start of the two day carnival celebrations in Trinidad & Tobago. It usually officially commences at 4:00 a.m. on Carnival Monday.
During Carnival Monday morning and in the early hours, the first revelers hit the streets - jumping, dancing, shouting - abetted, it must be admitted, by the fine local rum, but fueled more by the exhilaration of the occasion.
This early “Mas”, known as “J’Ouvert”, (a contraction of the French “jour ouvert”, or “day open”), is for the true die-hard player. It’s ritual enacted to the accompaniment of mud, oil, pitchforks and pointed tails.
In essence it is the celebration of the darker side of human life! Most revelers usually join sections in which hundreds of people party together!
…a national culture, more than a folklore, is the ongoing collective effort of a people to justify its own existence. Reggae is that effort embodied in Jamaica and its social and cultural significance can still be felt across the island. It’s in the way Jamaican music blares ceaselessly from the speakers of taxis crisscrossing the capital. It’s in the persistence of the Rae Town street party that’s taken place every Sunday in East Kingston for over forty years. It’s in the debates that go on in newspapers and the halls of the University of the West Indies. And, maybe most importantly, it’s in the Jamaicans who continue to play, listen, comment on, and participate in this music that is such a defining aspect of their culture.