Let’s be real. If you’re someone that doesn’t “do carnival” or doesn’t understand it, then you definitely don’t understand why carnival junkies can’t go year in and year out without carnival. We think about it, dream about it, talk about it from the moment carnival ends until we get the chance to do it all over again. It is the ongoing conversation that seemingly never ceases (well in our minds and whatsapp carnival chat groups). We plan our lives around it, budget around it, have made it a relationship requirement among other life standards. Fete and costume prices go up every year and we don’t care, we scrape every penny and make every excuse to be in attendance. So why do we TRULY say YES over and over again?
Can you remember the last time that you felt completely light, weightless, burden-less and worry free? I can. Yes… I can. Carnival affords you the ability to let loose and ‘free up’ yourself without care or concern of who’s watching or judging. It is a time to dance, to sing, to hug your best friend or a stranger and literally let your hair down and worry about nothing…at least for a week.
Frequenting carnivals yearly, you tend to see, then meet, then befriend (in any order that suits you) familiar faces and people. Now of course, not everyone you ‘bump” at a fete is going to become your life long soul mate or BFF (although fate has a funny way of working those things out). However after several fetes of eyeing the same faces, pumping in the same circles –you tend to grow an extended carnival family or ‘framily’ of likeminded individuals that share your passion for the culture, good vibes and revelry.
Vibes. It’s more than the music, more than the events, more than the tradition itself. Vibes encompass the atmosphere, it is literally the energy, the excitement, the euphoria of carnival. You can’t and won’t ever see it to fully comprehend or explain it, but you undoubtedly feel it. Vibes are goose pimples, heart racing and hair-raising moments that literally are unforgettable.
Where else is it ok to jump and wave and gyrate until sunrise, drenched from head to toe, covered in paint, powder, oil, mud and God knows what else? Where can you dress up in a fabulously feathered and bejeweled costume and strut around the streets portraying a tale of of historic caricatures. Where else can you tell a story being completely and unapologetically yourself? I think you already know the answer.
And last but not least; the thing that keeps us wanting more and more of carnival is the sobering moment when the last song is played and the last rag is waved; when the liming, the feting and the wining is done. Here, at this moment is when the angst and agony kicks in and there are only 365-366 days left to say yes to the next “jump up”.