The J’ouvert celebration (from the French, Jour ouvert, “opening of the day”) is an important and integral part of the Caribbean carnivals.
This ancestral tradition is a procession that traditionally takes place before sunrise.
It still exists in Trinidad & Tobago, Brazil, the French Antilles.
The participants cover their body in mud, and celebrate the start of the carnival.
When the sun has risen, the masquerade bands then take over.
Nowadays, many variants of the J’ouvert exist.
Mud is being replaced with paint, powder, and even chocolate.
And most of the floats now take part in daytime celebrations in Notting Hill.
Covered in chocolate or colour and barely recognisable, everything is possible.
This tradition manifests our need as humans to let go of our daily worries, to let go of ourselves just this once.
Do consider taking part in this tradition, a few bands propose this experience at the Notting Hill Carnival.
And if you come across this joyful bunch as a watcher, at the carnival, understand that this is not just paint or chocolate.
This is one’s daily life being dismissed and forgotten, just for one day.
photo credit: Festivity Beyond Play