St. Barthelemy: Carnival
Carnival in St. Barthelemy:
St. Barthelemy (also called St. Barths) is one of the three countries in the
world where Carnival does not end on or before Ash Wednesday begins.
Actually, it ends at the end of Ash Wednesday.
Carnival officially begins the Saturday that precedes Ash Wednesday, but
in St. Barthelemy, the day after New Year's Day, people begin to unofficially
start the celebrations. During this unofficial time, the carnival
associations rehearse in the street; people spend their times making
beautiful floats for the parades and getting themselves mentally,
psychologically and physically prepared.
The official start of Fat Saturday (Samedi Gras) is the time that people
go to parties to dance throughout the night.
King Vaval, a giant mannequin, is the king of Carnival and he is
ostensibly featured along with the beautiful floats and revelers on Fat Sunday
(Dimanche Gras). This is the time when all barriers of race, colour, or creed
are broken down and people jump and dance to enjoy themselves to the fullest.
This finishes late in the evening, and people return home to rest a few hours
before partying the night away. There are parties every night during the
Fat Monday (Lundi Gras) is the day of the red devils. It is the day when
everyone dresses in red. Today people continue to dress in red, which are
decorated with shimmering reflective silver and glitter. These costumes are a
thing of beauty as the costume designers seemingly let their imaginations
flow to come up with beautiful works of art.
Ash Wednesday is the day when everyone dresses in black and white for the
funeral of king Vaval to mark the end of the Carnival. Festivities go on
throughout the day until seven o'clock in the evening. King Vaval is then
burnt to mark the end of the Carnival season. Nevertheless, parties continue
until midnight with great revelry. Some party people even continue partying
until just before daybreak as they are some who say "dis party can't
done 'til morning come."