Real Mas: Costume and culture at Mas Dominik

Revelers in Roseau on Carnival Tuesday

Over the past week, the Eastern Caribbean spent quite a bit of time out in the streets partying. Trinidad and Tobago has, by far, the most famous Carnival, but the island of Dominica, located between Martinique and Guadeloupe, hosts its own unique version.

Dubbed the “Real Mas,” it’s a carnival that maintains focus on traditional costumes and community involvement. Carnival itself kicked off with J’ouvert on Monday morning, followed by a youth parade, calypso road march and costume parade, ending with Wednesday’s Téwé Vaval in the Kalinago territory, where a coffin, supposedly containing the spirit of the Carnival, is buried. It was also the indigenous Kalinago, who led the parade opening the Carnival season on January 31.

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6 Comments

  1. LIMINGLUCY
    February 28, 2012

    I WAS IN DA FOR CARNIVAL 2012, AND THE ARUGMENT TO CHANGE THE DATE BECAUSE OF TRINIDAD IS REDICULOUS… TRINY WILL NOT COME TO OUR CARNIVAL IN LARGE NUMBERS, REGARDLESS OF WHEN WE HAVE IT. SUMMER TIME IS NOT A GOOD TIME, AND HURRICANE SEASON EVEN WORST. LEAVE THE DAMN DATE AS IT IS. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!!!

  2. PLEASE READ
    February 27, 2012

    Dear Mr.Alwin Bully & Carnival Committee:
    Please allow me to express my views on the change of Carnival date that has been a concern for a few years now.
    As a concerned Dominican citizen, I don’t think putting the carnival in the summer is gonna make a huge difference if the carnival committee stick to the same planning. Putting it in the summer is not gonna make it AUTOMATICALLY popular, profitable or more extravagant.
    I think that carnival should be promoted the same way our World Creole Music Festival is being promoted. Members of the Carnival Committee, should go to the neighboring islands months prior to carnival and build the awareness. I also believe that the main reason why the streets of Roseau are not filled on the costume parade day is because we do not tackle the schools and villages.One way we should tackle the schools and villages is that we should have a CARNIVAL AWARENESS MONTH and this should be in the month of MAY.An official letter should be sent to all schools in Dominica and village councils asking for their participation in Carnival. All schools might not take part but I know there will be more taking part than those that will not. The schools can set up carnival committee: having an executive board, and those who are interested will join the committee. The committee and members will decide on what costumes they are gonna be wearing. From May to Carnival is 7 months and within these 7 months schools can raise funds that will help in purchasing costumes.The village council should have an official meeting with the villagers and those who are interesting will set up a carnival committee. Schools and village councils can seek funds from the different Dominica Associations in the Diaspora. I live abroad and I will be more than willing to help.
    So my personal strategy to make carnival successful is tackling the schools and villages.I believe if every or most schools and villages in Dominica take part in the costume parade the streets of Roseau will be more packed and vibrant.
    So we really need to plan ahead to make carnival successful.Our Carnival is unique and I don’t think we are competing with Trinidad. Trinidad has a different culture and I don’t think Trinidadians are gonna come to our carnival in the summer.We should promote our carnival in the other Caribbean islands, united states, Canada, England..Dominicans living abroad will come and their foreign friends who are interesting will come along..
    Mr. Alwin Bully I hope that you take my idea into consideration. I love my country very much and I would really like to see a change in our costume parade in the city. The idea of tackling the schools and villages and also the Carnival Awareness month is a great idea.
    LOOKING FORWARD TO SEE A DIFFERENCE NEXT YEAR GOD SPARE!!
    PEACE & LOVE TO ALL!!!

  3. My2Sense
    February 27, 2012

    That’s a nice article, but I still think that we should give the idea (changing the dates carnival is held) a chance. As I see it, the opportunities a change would allow are as follows: (1) we could work with the experienced Trinidadian costume designers/builders at a time when they’re not already swamped with work, (2) we could host shows that include top Trinidadian soca artists (in conjunction with our local bands and popular Jamacian acts) because they won’t be tied to Carnival in their own country, (3) we could market to residents of Martinique and Guadeloupe so that they’re encouraged to visit our country during that time. On their end, there would be less likely conflict as their carnival is the same time as ours (February), (4)depending on the new date, we could tap into the number of returning Dominican students who usually come home for summer. Carnival in the early summer would afford them the opportunity to partake and enjoy the event… Just a few thoughts.

  4. Pundit
    February 27, 2012

    Thank you very much. Now they see why the dates should be left alone and just get some hard working genuine people to run the show.

    • dominican
      February 27, 2012

      THank You.

      i have been to trinidad carnival and its great, but i am telling you dominica has a great carnival, good enough to be put on at the same time of year. yeS, its that good

      i wish our people would have more confidence in themselves. its so sad

    • Anonymous
      February 28, 2012

      Totally agree, changing the date would be also changing the meaning of carnival, and worst of all those from the diaspora who visit will find it harder because the fares are much more during holiday peak period.

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