In this week’s episode the Goats really are on the road! We’re experiencing the climax of carnival celebrations here on the isle of spice and it is an insane party. J’ouvert is much more than just a street festival with oil, paint and half-naked bodies however, its deeply rooted in Grenada’s history and dates back to the time of the slaves.
When the French ruled the island and traded slaves, they brought the tradition of carnival to the island by celebrating it amongst themselves. Although the slaves were banned from the celebrations, they saw them going on and while their masters were busy having fun, the slaves would put on their own carnival, often mocking the slave owners and comically mimicking their dress and their dancing.
J’ouvert spawned after the emancipation of the slaves in 1834. Former slaves donned disturbing costumes which often included dead animals and devilish horns, they covered themselves in oil and took to the streets of Grenada to try to disrupt the polite society of their former masters.
They succeeded at making the French extremely uncomfortable and while slavery and the French occupation are a thing of the past, this tradition has carried on in Grenada for over a century.
The costumes are as symbolic as they are unsettling and today, J’ouvert and carnival as a whole is not just a festival, it’s a celebration of freedom, perseverance and the amazing heart and will of the Grenadian people.
We felt honoured to not only feel safe while taking part in the celebrations, but to be welcomed into the crowds regardless of the colour of our skin. Yet another testiment to how wonderful Grenadians are.
Jab jab is WE Grenadian ting, Don’t steal it!
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