J’ouvert is a gallicization version of jou ouvè, the Antillean Creole French term meaning “dawn” or “daybreak”, which makes sense since it starts around 3:30-4am and goes through sunrise until about 8:30-9am and you follow music trucks through the streets of Port of Spain. But it is not one parade. Nope. It is 6-10 separate parades hosted by different bands or Djs. Each parade wanders the along the streets and sometimes you will run into another band coming the opposite direction.
We signed up and joined TW Explosion and arrived at the bands “camp”, just the backyard of a house, at 2:30am and hung out having breakfast. Of course it was not donuts or something we would be use to. Nope. Breakfast was corn soup and rum punch. 🙂 By joining the band we got a bag of goodies including light up sticks, backpack, condoms (serious), cup, backpack, t-shirt, and more. The t-shirt was orange with the band on the front and I thought it would make a great souvenir. Boy was I wrong. Haha.
Turns out as you walk and dance down the streets listen to soca music, with the bass so high I thought my heart would stop, there are guys along the route with cans of paints of different colors and will smear it all over you. Also, other guys have buckets of mud they spray people with. By the time we were done my shirt looked like a Jackson Pollock painting. Haha
J’ouvert was a great time that I am very glad I participated in even if it meant I did not get any sleep that night. With that said I do not think I ever need to do it again. 🙂 If you ever take part in J’ouvert make sure to wear ear plugs!!!!! It will save your hearing, sanity, and stop a massive headache latter.