J'ouvert or Jouvay is at the heart of Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. The name J'ouvert originates from the French jour ouvert, meaning day break or morning, and signals the start of the bacchanalia that is Carnival.
Jouvert is highly traditional and full of symbols culture and heritage. Playing mud mas involves participants known as Jab Jabs who cover themselves – from head to toe - and others in paint, chocolate, mud, white powder or anything for that matter. It is Jouvert custom that no one is clean, and a common site to see a newcomer being hugged by a muddy revelers.
The roots of J'ouvert in Trinidad go back 200 years, with the arrival of French plantation owners. The French never colonized Trinidad, however elements of their culture remained. J’ouvert evolved from the Canboulay festivals in the 1800’s, which were night time celebrations where the landowners dressed up and imitated the negres jardins (garden slaves). Following emancipation the newly freed slaves took over canboulay, now imitating their former masters imitating them. Canboulay revelers were seen as a potential risk by the authorities, and the tension mounted leading to the Canboulay riots. It was eventually banned, and then re-established as Jouvert.
The spectacular costumes represent characters and events from the history and folklore. Moko Jumbie Bats, jab molassie, devil mas are all traditional Carnival characters that capture the elements of the past, and continue to tell the story.”
LuckyLT2 on Sep 9, 2009 at 10:00:09
NDK1978 on Sep 8, 2009 at 19:50:58
“Thanks for the excellent explanation! I was tempted to write a similar explanation of J'ouvert myself until I read your post. You would think people would do research before writing about something they don't understand or have never experienced. J'ouvert in NY will never truly compare to Trinidad, but its a decent copy.”
“Exactly! Just like we dress for the occasion when going to work, church and other events that call for it, I agree that this was not an occasion for sleeveless. Even in the summer, this would not be an occasion for sleeveless. The First Lady, wife of the man who was addressing not just the nation but the WORLD, should not have gone without sleeves. It was inappropriate.
I still think she's amazing and still love her to pieces:)”
zoozey on Feb 26, 2009 at 17:45:41
“Well, since there have only been 40 something First Ladies total, I don't really think there is a standard, except for the one set by the First Lady, herself. She seems very practical. If she thought she would get hot, she probably left her jacket in a back room. I would imagine it was hot and stuffy in there.
She wasn't na.ked or sporting cle.avage, or in a miniskirt. She was very proper.”
“Like I said before, I absolutely love the Obamas.
I'm no die-hard conservative trying to control women and their choices but you're entitled to your opinion on that.
My point is simply that there's a time and place for everything. No one forces anyone to make certain choices about their wardrobe when going to work or church, but most people know what's appropriate from what's not. Whether you like it or not, appearances do matter... especially for the FIRST LADY of the United States of America.
As the wife of the man responsible for guiding our nation through these tumultuous times, the man who just happened to be addressing the WORLD last night I still think she looked very summer-outdoor-partyish.”
“I love her to bits! LOVE LOVE LOVE... but I must concur... 100%.
Too often, I feel like her fashion choices seem so... disdainful of protocol. It's like she's emphasizing that she's the same Michelle by not getting all royal-stepford-wife-princess-perfect on us. But "underdoing" it isn't effective either. Beautiful arms or not, certain occasions warrant certain dress codes, and wearing sleeves wouldn't make her less "normal"”
jazabelz on Feb 25, 2009 at 19:57:19
“No one's stopping you from wearing all the long-sleeved, turtle neck outfits you want to! You sound like the typical Republican who doesn't want government telling anyone what to do except what women can and can't do with their bodies and what they should or shouldn't wear! Quit telling women what they should or shouldn't do and what they should or shouldn't wear.”