...respect is just the minimum...


it's carnival!!

Now, please note the above title must be said in a certain way. It is not 'it's car-ni-val'. NO! If you are familiar with soca, think Destra Garcia. Phonetically, say 'is cah-na-val!' There, you got it. That's lesson one in Trini lingo...lesson two will follow shortly.

So yes, Caribana is here. For those that don't know, Caribana is Toronto's Caribbean Carnival. I say Caribbean because it has evolved to encompass all islands, all people, supposedly boasting unity. (I say supposedly, because as always there is the behind the scenes politics...between the city of Toronto and the organizers of Caribana; within the organization itself [an old link, but BELIEVE ME there hasn't been much change since 2002], between islands and of course, between promoters of the local parties.)

While Caribana does not even compare to the festivities of Trinidad Carnival, it is still an event that I desperately hope is able to survive. Not just because of the economic benefits of this festival to the city of Toronto, but because it promotes a sense of culture that I need to instill into my children (whenever they arrive). If you've never experienced Carnival whether in Toronto, Trinidad, New York, Miami or DC; believe me, you don't know what you're missing.

Anyways...despite my love for the festival, I've outgrown some of the events that I used to frequent in my younger days. I just can't tolerate the club hopping from Thursday to Monday night. The chilling out on Yonge Street till 6 in the morning, the feteing on the parade route all day Saturday and then rushing home to get dressed to hit a club right after. Not only can my body not tolerate it, but I look back and seriously wonder how in the hell I was affording that entire weekend when I was not working and still in school.

I still experience a sense of excitement and anticipation as Caribana draws closers. You see, it's not just about going to the events. It's also about the people who come here...the aunties and uncles and cousins and nieces and nephews. The fact that everyone is in a good mood despite whatever negativities may be occurring in their life. The reunion of friends and family that you haven't seen in ages and those that you KNOW you only see at this one time every year. They don't come for Christmas, they won't send a card for your Birthday, but come carnival time...they magically appear. Acting like they've been right around the corner the entire time.

I love it!! This is my culture, this is my life, my history. The bacchanal, the feteing, the wining, the politics, the false sense of unity, I embrace all of them as part of my history.

For anyone interested in learning more about Trinidadian political and social culture, I recommend picking up books by Earl Lovelace. While his writings are supposedly fictional, there is a historical basis to all the events that occur and I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of the characters were historically based as well.

All of the above being said, here's are some links for Caribana related events:

Let the festivities begin!!

rotating...IRS: Welcome to Planet IRS
anticipating...LONG WEEKEND!!!


  • At Mon. Jul. 26, 11:06:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger jirzygurl said…

    My family just went to that. They are in Canada visiting my Grandmother in Montreal. I go to the Labor Day one in NY every year and the ones we have in Philly! I don't think people who are not from an island understand the energy and the vibes of just being around your own people, waving your flag, dancing, and chillin with family. Me and my cousins still go out clubbing afterwards though

  • At Tue. Jul. 27, 09:07:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger jirzygurl said…

    Correction... my fam didn't go :-( I thought they did but they went to just some jamaica day thing in Montreal.

  • At Tue. Jul. 27, 09:10:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger jirzygurl said…

    Correction... my fam didn't go to that :-( they went to some jamaica day thing in Montreal


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