Dominica’s Carnival – LIME’s role in its Successful Execution

By :- Janette Brin

Lifestyle & Culture

 

Dominica – The Nature Island

Known as the nature island of the Caribbean, the island Dominica (Waitukubuli) is nestled between the French territories of Martinique and Guadeloupe in the chain of beautiful Caribbean islands. This natural paradise beckons to the nature seeking enthusiast, and lovers of eco-tourism. It is a diver’s dream and a hiker’s paradise. Volcanic peaks, boiling lakes, cascading waterfalls and an amazing underwater experience aresome of the exceptional features of the nature isle.  

Carnival Celebrations

The uniqueness of this 365 square mile island transcends its beauty and natural attributes. One of the island’s major attractions is its Carnival festivities. Carnival, or 'The Real Mas', is a pre-Lenten festival in Dominica which usually falls in the months of February or March each year and is the most festive season in Dominica.

Carnival plays an important role in the lives of the people of Dominica. It is an opportunity for self-expression and the celebration of a free and hardworking people. Carnival is about, revelry, pageantry, Calypso and  color! Dominicans of all ages  participate in costume bands, sensay pan  and lapo cabwit groups, T-shirt bands and papisho weddings. Carnival is a season of music and flare which culminates in 2 day of street parades and street jams. The Real Mas  is one of the mediums used to display the islands cultural traditions and art form.

LIME Dominica invests heavily in Carnival Celebrations

In order to stage carnival activities, the organising body needs support from the private sector. For several years, Dominica’s leading telecommunications provider LIME (Landline Internet Mobile & Entertainment) has answered the call and continues to play a major role in supporting the sustenance of this important aspect of Dominican life. Every year, the company invests over half a million dollars towards the staging of Carnival activities. As the Headline sponsor of Carnival, LIME ensures that the Dominica Festivals Committee (DFC) has the support of a major corporate partner. .

LIME recognises the importance of supporting the people of Dominica in their efforts to sustain the islands traditions and Culture. Almost every activity hosted during the celebrations can boast of receiving assistance from LIME. The company’s support to Calypso is unsurpassed, investing significant funds into the Calypso competitions, the Showdown Mas Camp (Calypso tent) and Junior Monarch competitions. LIME invests heavily in many other aspects of Carnival including various  village festivals, T-shirt bands, Costume bands and other competitions. When persons think carnival, they think LIME!

More about Dominica’s Carnival

Dominica’s carnival is the most spontaneous and all inclusive in the region since it provides the opportunity for everyone to participate. . The celebrations begin with a street parade and opening ceremony, ending with  the celebrations on Carnival Monday & Tuesday. The street parade features a kaleidoscope of colours highlighting beautiful costumes, the various pageant contestants including the Miss Dominica national Queen Pageant contestants. Carnival revellers come out in sensay costumes, ‘Darkies’ painted in a local charcoal and coconut oil mixture. Stilt walkers (moko jumbies) take center stage. Cheerleaders, drum majorettes, flag wavers give the thousands of onlookers who line the streets of the capital city Roseau, a beautiful blend of traditional and modern aspects of the local culture.

Over the remaining three weeks, carnival lovers will be treated to exciting calypso competitions and tents, the Princess Show, Teenage Pageant and Junior monarch competitions which provide the forum for the island’s youth to make their contributions to  Carnival . One of the major shows during the season is the Miss Dominica pageant.  Seven young women compete for the coveted title of Miss Dominica. The winner serves as an ambassador to her country and represents the island in various regional pageants. The Calypso finals however,  is the biggest show, attracting thousands of calypso lovers to  Carnival City to witness the crowning of a new monarch.

The costume parade and street jump-ups on Carnival Monday and Tuesday are the main highlights for many. J'Ouvert begins officially from four am and features the local Lapo Kabwit (drums made out of goat skins) and steel pan music. Hi-fi bands are only allowed from six am. Then from 10 am to 12 Noon the Traditional Old Mas Costume bands (Sensay, Darkies, Black Devils, Ban Mouve, take to the streets.  The T-shirt bands take prominence from 2pm until 10pm. On Carnival Tuesday the new Calypso Monarch as well as the New Carnival Queen- Miss Dominica parade with other pageant winners. Traditional Costume Bands, Queen Contestants and other costume bands also form part of the Carnival Tuesday parade. 

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