Sunday, January 9, 2011

"Las Lap"

I know there are lots and lots of pictures, but I couldn't stop looking at the pics of all the interesting/colorful/creative/unique/strange/(and many skimpy) costumes from "Las Lap," meaning the last lap of the 2-week-long Carnival celebration in St. Kitts. The annual Carnival event is the biggest party of the year for Caribbean islands, and each island's is different. Here in St. Kitts, Carnival officially begins a week before Christmas and doesn't end till after the new year.

My friend, Angela, and I took the kids to see the final parade and saw a lot of interesting sights to say the least! We had fun though and got some great pictures so that we can remember and share with others the traditions and folklore of St. Kitts through their Carnival celebrations.

If you're interested, the following is a great history of Carnival that I got from this website-

The history of Carnival celebrations began hundreds of years ago in Italy where Catholics held wild costume festivals right before Lent. Since they were not supposed to eat meat during Lent, the festival got the name, "Carnevale", which means "to put away meat." The famous Carnival celebrations eventually spread to other Catholic countries, including France, Spain and Portugal. As Catholic Europeans set up colonies and entered the slave trade, Carnival took root in the New World as well.

Today, Carnival celebrations are found throughout the islands. They have been transformed, however, from those original Italian costume festivals to something distinctly Caribbean that differs from island to island. The Caribbean Carnival is a blending together of many European cultures, as well as African dance and music. Important to the celebration of the Caribbean Carnival is the African traditions of parading in costumes and masks and moving in circles through villages in order to bring good fortune, heal problems and calm angry spirits. Carnival is an important way for the people of the Caribbean to express their rich African cultural traditions by creating elaborate masks and costumes. It takes months and a lot of energy and creativity to come up with a concept and develop costumes for the dancers to depict a common theme.

I've learned since the last post that these stilt walkers are called "moko jumbies." From Wikipedia- moko, in the traditional sense, is a god. He watches over his village, and due to his towering height, he is able to foresee danger and evil.

Food was being prepared everywhere for the street party after the parade that would last until the wee hours of the morning.

Check out the kid's faces in this picture. I am the only one who looks happy to be here! Maybe they are just shocked by everything they see or with the loud, loud, loud music.

See, this driver is smart with his earplugs.

This was really and truly part of a float going down the street, with 2 port-a-potties on the back.

I guess during Carnival the phrase "Don't Drink & Drive" doesn't apply. (Actually, I don't think it is against the law at all here to drink and drive.)


abby said...

your pictures are amazing! i'm laughing because our first full day on the island we caught the tail end of carnival and it was a leeetle bit strange. this looks so fun though. i'm dying over the picture of those two guys getting down. miss you!!

Burt Family said...

I can look at these pictures and still feel the thump, thump of the music in my chest- it was so LOUD!!! and the costumes and moves were to say the least shocking, definitely a experience we will never forget, but the colors were amazing!!!

Becky Filhart said...

STREET JAM...NOOOOOOO!!!! My favorite pic was the vip toilet sign. classic. i'm a little jealous of your shorts and flip flops. we are fa-reezing here...