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Unleash That J’ouvert Spirit in You …. Cayman Carnival Batabano – J’ouvert

Local News 28 Apr, 2022 Follow News

Unleash That J’ouvert Spirit in You …. Cayman Carnival Batabano – J’ouvert

“J’ouvert morning…. We don’t see the sun until morning come!” Any true Carnival baby that has ever had the opportunity to play J’ouvert and experience the unique blend of joy and bacchanal that the experience invokes, would understand what is being described.

J’ouvert, like carnival has a historical and cultural history. The ritual is more than just a celebration of music, costumes, revelry, and dance. It is steeped in the history of black enslavement and the emancipation of Africans around the region.

J’ouvert – pronounced jou-vay – is a French creole word derived from the original word “Jour Ouvert” meaning dawn or daybreak. It evolved from the festivities of Canboulay (Cannes Brulées meaning burnt cane) in the 1800’s in Trinidad. As the history goes, Canboulay comes from the times when the sugar cane fields caught on fire and the enslaved men were forced to harvest the remaining crop before complete destruction and loss.

To commemorate emancipation, people took to the streets in outlandish mockery of their former masters with horns, pan and drums of their own, reclaiming Canboulay. The banning of the celebrations spawned the Canboulay riots and so the celebration was then reborn as J’ouvert.

Today, J’ouvert is celebrated throughout the Caribbean region and all over the world at various times of the year, each one in conjunction with the carnivals of their respective jurisdiction.

Carnival and J’ouvert go hand in hand, so it was only fitting and a natural progression that the Cayman Carnival Batabano Board introduced J’ouvert to our annual carnival festivities six (6) years ago.

Getting ready for J’ouvert, while the rest of the world seems to sleep peacefully feels like you are in on a secret that no one knows but you. That - in moments - the still of the night will come alive with sweet soca, mud, paint, powder and the revelry, joy and just sweet, sweet madness.

Right here in Cayman, J’ouvert’s allure grows more each year because the location remains secret until midnight on J’ouvert morning, each location being more amazing than the year before. This year J’ouvert is slated for Saturday, April 30th. from 4am to 8am just one week before we take to the streets for Batabano.


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