Carnival in Grenada
Although Grenada has been celebrating a carnival for hundreds of years, Carnival is a holiday that has been celebrated officially on the second Monday and Tuesday in August every year since 1981. Also known as Spicemas, this holiday was previously observed on the traditional date of the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent.
Even though this holiday is traditionally observed with two official days off, it’s not uncommon for Carnival celebrations to last for quite a few days longer. This event attracts people from all over the world and features lots of music, dancing, and, of course, colorful outfits and parades.
The History Of Carnival In Grenada
Carnivals of various kinds have been celebrated for thousands of years around the world and can be traced back to Ancient Rome. In fact, the word “Carne Vale” is a Latin phrase that literally translates to “farewell to meat.” This is because carnivals have traditionally been tied to Catholic Lent, a period before Easter during which people give up meat. Thus, the carnival was the last chance for people to indulge themselves before the 40-day period of abstinence for Lent.
In Grenada, Carnival Monday (known as J’Ouvert in French) features masqueraders dressed in devil costumes known as Jab-Jabs (from the French Creole phrase for “devil devil,” diable diable). These parades would go down the streets of Grenada and were attended by thousands of people, just like the carnivals of today.
Eventually, Tuesday was added to the public holiday to give carnival-goers an extra day off for the festivities. Before Grenada achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1974, this holiday was observed on the Monday and Tuesday before Lent. Now, it is observed on the second Monday and Tuesday in August.
Observing Carnival In Grenada
This holiday is observed with plenty of calypso music, dancing, and parades. People dress in colorful costumes for the parades, and the streets are filled with observers. People also enjoy traditional Caribbean food and drinks on this day. It is also a day off for the general population and a day for everyone to let loose and enjoy themselves.