I’m a Caribbean Girl.
This year I decided to do j’ouvert for labour day celebration. I had never been, not even in my country. J’ouvert “is a large street party during Carnival in the eastern Caribbean region. J’ouvert is a contraction of the French jour ouvert, or dawn/day break. J’ouvert is celebrated on many islands, including Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, Sint Maarten, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. It is also a feature of New York City’s West Indian Day Parade held on Labor Day, in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn and Notting Hill Carnival in London, both areas that have a large Caribbean ex-pat communities.” (source)
My friend Kim and I started the night off by picking up a friend at a nearby party where I was introduced to a cousin who I hadn’t seen in over 15 years. We brought him along and his cousin.
We started walking to the general direction of the bands but they were steel bands not the actual j’ouvert party. We didn’t know this. We had walked over 20 blocks. Frustrated we decided to call it off. One of us got on the train and the rest of us started walking back to my apartment. Lucky for the rest of us remaining: we met the actual band coming up the street — so we got in.
We started dancing in the street to the music (also trying to avoid the folks wearing oil and paint). One of my friends showed up with some friends and danced with us.
We went all the way to the end ( it was probably 7am) and headed back to my place to shower and sleep (by 9am).
We got up at 12:30 to head to the parade. The best part of the parade is the food (to me).
Unfortunately the parade wasn’t great and we west Indians say that we won’t ever go again but we end up there anyway.