J’ouvert is a contraction of Jour Ouvert (opening of the day in French). It is a street party that parades through the city dancing to calypso and Soca music – blasting from speakers on trucks- from early dawn (4am) till just after sunrise (about 7am). And this year, in Belize City, I had that experience! And I thank my co-worker for taking me.
This festival is celebrated in many Caribbean countries, including Trinidad & Tobago, Aruba, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Dominica and more. The origin of the party actually originated from slaves working on plantation who were freed and began to imitate their previous owners.
Last Saturday, I left just around 3:30 am and met up with my co-worker who took me not far where the parade began. There was a wreath ceremony and a minute of silence for a young man who lost his life 2 years ago during J’ouvert. When it began, hundreds of people were herded through the streets behind trucks that had either paint, mud or chocolate sprayed from. Oh yes, this party gets DIRTY and that is one of the best parts. But wait, isn’t a dancing stampede of humans dangerous? It is especially in Belize City where there are open sewages and potholes all around (but it didn’t stop anyone). I had a few quick getaways from being pulled down into the pits when people did tumble.
For almost 2 hours of upbeat music and Belizeans whinnying and grinding all around me (I danced to myself since I lack the bodacious booty to shake with the songs) we reached BTL Park where it marked the end. There were flip flops all over the streets during the parade because people would just lose them. I’d totally do this again, and the Spanish coffee definitely helped.
Here is a video compilation I made of the party —> Jouvert Party