Can we talk about Carnival? If you know me, then you know I’m a first generation Jamaican American. Being born to two Jamaican parents and growing up in a household of Caribbean traditions and culture was and still is very important to me.
Honestly, I don’t know who I would be without my deep connections to my parents homeland and the culture I was raised in; it genuinely makes me who I am.
One part of Caribbean culture that I’ve grown to love and appreciate more as I got older was carnival. Carnival is one of the most anticipated times of the year in the Caribbean as well as certain parts of South America, Europe, and North America.
Just imagine a mass of people, dancing, whining, chipping and jumping, covered in beautiful jewels, costumes, and feathers, paint, powder, rum in hand, and the sounds of soca, calypso, and dancehall blaring through band speakers.
It’s a time to feel your body from the inside out, embrace your femininity, and let loose; whatever that means to you!
a little Carnival history…
A quick carnival history lesson: Carnival was started hundreds of years ago when followers of the Catholic religion in Italy started the tradition of holding festival right before the first day of Lent; Lent being when Catholics would give up meat – hence the name “carnival” (cahneeval) which meant “farewell to meat and flesh.”
Eventually this tradition reached France and Portugal and later the Caribbean after Columbus enslaved the African and Caribbean people throughout the diaspora from 1836-1917.
The African and Caribbean brought their own traditions to the festival such as parading in villages wearing masks, costumes and singing as it was said to bring good luck and fortune, heal their troubles, and usher relatives who’ve passed (spirits) into the next world.
J’ouvert, another pivotal piece of the festival, celebrates enslaved peoples freedom. J’ouvert, meaning day break, is a way for Caribbean people to celebrate the freedom of our ancestors and laying claims that our culture and bodies belong to us; not slave masters or people for consumption.
It was during my first time playing mas during Carnival in Barbados, known as Crop Over, that I felt my most free and liberated. My body was able to move and just be with no cares other than celebrating who I was, my culture, my ancestry, and what it meant to be free.
My body was HOME.
Carnival, and the Caribbean overall, is a place where I have seen my plus size body fully embraced, celebrated, decorated, and enamored. Even though there are still many bands who fail to include plus size people in their band launches and costumes; we are still here naming our space and owning our place!
With Miami Carnival on our heels and returning in October 2021 (I CAN’T WAIT!), I had to take some time and spotlight the scene.
The events are liberating and I want to highlight 6 plus size aka FLUFFY (Caribbean term of endearment of plus size women) women who are owning this event and helping to create online carnival spaces to uplift ALL body types and sizes!
7 Fun and Statement making Plus Size Carnival Looks!
I hope you loved this list of bold women wukking up in Carnival! Want to continue learning more about carnival, playing mas, and the culture?
Check out some terms to know here.
This should answer MOST of your carnival questions, but I’m sure not all. But ask away!!!
Are there any plus size carnival bloggers, influencers, or Caribbean centered pages you follow that highlights plus size people? Let us know!
We look forward to learning about them too.