Another Spicemas has come and gone and many of us can still hear the clank clank and toot toot of the rhythm section in our dreams. You may be back at the office or on the constructions sight or at court or on a plane (because you know everyone plays carnival) but you are still humming ” Last night ah drink d rum and ah falling but ah know this morning ah waking up” From all reports Spicemas 2017 was pretty epic. The only question that remains is: What kind of mas did you play?
You know the spirit of carnival runs through your veins strongly. Chances are Spicemas was not your first or second carnival this year. You have been feteing hard for months, building up your stamina and alcohol tolerance. No serious carnival fete has missed you. You have been hitting the gym since that last bite of ham and black cake digested after Christmas because you know carnival requires endurance. Preeday? Yuh dey* La Vida? Yuh dey, Soca Monarch, Xtreme White/ White in the Moonlight (we are not picking sides) Yuh day! From J’ouvert Morning right down to Last Lap you are most certainly present and ready for a good time equipped with cow horns, chains, masks, the sexiest home made Monday wear, glow sticks and the most sparkly frontline Fancy Mas costume.
Wicked Jab? (No connotation of malice intended)
For you Spicemas ends on J’ouvert morning. It is highly likely that you were playing ah mas*** by the side of the road in the weeks leading up to carnival. We see you random jab! We see you. Your cow horns were ordered early, you have your chains, lamb shell and plenty bush ready. No pigs in prams this year…they were strict about that ban for 2017. Your mode of transportation to navigate the traffic situation – non motorized -motorized vehicles, lawnmowers and a tiny bicycle with flat tires and bent rims.
There is a probability that you will block a drain** by about midday on J’ouvert morning and rightly so- a lot of energy is expended in the wildness and theatrics of J’ouvert morning and you know people come from far and wide to see. Oh but the mas does not end there, no no, you will find yourself in J’ouvert morning around the island. Just because there is Fancy Mas in town does not mean j’ouvert ends- you have plenty options!
You live for the feathers, the glitter, the pageantry and the amazingness that is pretty mas. This does not mean that you won’t partake in J’ouvert or Monday Night Mas but Tuesday Fancy Mas is your time to truly shine. Pull yuh phone! Tap d screen! Because a fancy masquerader is a vision to behold and you are ready for your photo op. Much like the Real Getonnah and the Wicked Jab quite a bit of preparation went into what others see on the road. Your workout regime and diet have been consistent. You plan all accessories and embellishments to a T with a detailed plan of execution. Nothing short of fabulously stunning will be accepted. You are perfectly poised to have the time of your life.
Monday Night Mas Warrior?
T-shirts, glow sticks, sparkly hats, blinking barrets and the cover of darkness is more your flask of rum (carnival version of “cup of tea”). You and your crew are coming out to do what we in the Caribbean call play ah mas*** and wave your rags and lighting swards in unison to what you already know will take road march****.
Failed Spectators Mas?
When you left home you told yourself that came to just watch your friends and family enjoy mas for a few hours. Your role: supportive sideliner. Mysteriously and as if you are under a soca spell you have somehow ended up in the band after simply intending to take a picture with your masquerader friends. How did that happen? How did that drink get into your hand? Why are you covered in old oil/ paint? What is the headpiece doing on your head? Who put that glow stick in your hand and why are you now chipping merrily down the road? Don’t worry about it. It has happened to the most determined of us. Carnival just has an infectious quality and no matter how much you tried to sit this year out…well…mas is in your blood and the liquor had you floating.
You came early to set up your folding chair in the spot with the best vantage point. You may even have a cooler packed with ice and drinks. Your uniform: a hat for the hot sun, sun glasses and a durable cup in your hand. You are dedicated to observing mas. Unlike the “failed spectators mas” you stand/ sit firm and enjoy mas from the sidelines.
The Social/ Political Commentator?
All those conversations and political debates and scandals that are ordinarily discussed in private circles now have a stage and public audience on J’ouvert Morning. You enjoy the social commentary of Ole Mas, not only with placards but through your entire costume and silent theatrical performance. For you this aspect of Carnival is about having a platform for your strong views rather than the party.
Traditional Mas Player?
You are not about this feathers and glitter life- this new wave of skimpy carnival costumes that can’t even be reused next year. For you Carnival stays true to its historical roots. We are talking short knees chanting and dancing in a cloud of baby powder, vehckos stomping ominously down the road, wild Indians dabbed in paint and colorfully adorned. This is the root of this whole season and you honor it and keep it alive.
What kind of Spicemas did you play this year? Are you working your way up to being a “Real Gettonah” or are you preserving and honoring the historical significance of the festival? Let us know in the comments.
Glossary of Grenadian Terms
* Yuh dey- a Caribbean expression for “you are there and you are really happy about it”
**block drain- a Grenadian expression the means that you are so decidedly intoxicated that you have lost any sense of the difference between your bed and a drain. The drain is closer and you need a rest- therefore you rest there and block the drain.
***play ah mas- A Caribbean expression which means that you will party hard. Playing ah mas may result in blocking a drain, however the two are not inextricably linked. Some who play ah mas do go on to resting in less wet places.
****Road March is the most popular song played during Carnival. It is not necessarily what the judged by the panel of judges at Soca Monarch, the national soca competition, as the best song but it is the crowd favorite.