Trinidad Blue Devi for Jouvert

Trini Phrase: Jouvert

  • Jouvert, Jour ouvert, Jouvert (n): [Trinidad Jouvert] the official beginning of Carnival at daybreak on the Monday preceding Ash Wednesday. (< French Creole jou ouve <French jour ouvert ‘day open’, as a translation of day clean)
    • Well for me I waiting on Jour Ouvert, Just to jump me jum[p] and break away. (Kitchener “Jump in the Line” 1948)
    • The Jour Ouvert of 1920 Port-of-Spain saw revellers crowding the streets from the crack of dawn, and in the bands, amidst the beaters of tamboo-bamboo, and bottle-and-spoon, could be seen revellers depicting crooks, pick-pockets, burglars, beggers, highway robbers, and Barbadian cooks. (Anthony 1989:25)
    • Jouvay…the opening day of Carnival which begins in the early morning hours (often officially 2:00 A.M.) Monday morning before Ash Wednesday. Jouvay is a nocturnal mas that breaks shortly after dawn. Thousands of revellers in old clothes covered with mud, or as Blue or Red Devils, or drenched in black oil (Oil Men) fill the streets. (Martin 1998:227)

Jouvert: Dutty Mass

Playing dutty – “dirty”- mass for jouvert is my favourite part of carnival because it was early in the morning – no hot sun and everyone has the same “costume” – oil and mud.


Click here now for other Trini expressions and leave us a comment below of phrases you have heard. 

Source: Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad & Tobago by Lise Winer.

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