Sights to see (and unsee) at Grenada Carnival 2017

We were walking single-file, up a hill. Our kids were in the lead. Suddenly, our progress was stopped by what my kids now refer to as “the hold up”. It was an arresting sight. And, a quick-thinking parent would have responded to my kids’ immediate questions with, “Dancing. I guess they were dancing.” End of.

Instead, our kids stood gobsmacked as a fleshy woman in a carnival outfit danced with one leg hoisted in the air by her smiling partner. Gyrations sent her body into convulsions, with only the tiniest piece of fabric straining to cover her modesty.

The scene caused much delight amongst my children. They thought it was wildly funny. And, I cringed later as they danced on our boat and exchanged wedgies.

We are traveling on our catamaran, homeschooling our kids and exposing our children to cultures. This was our first time at Grenadian Carnival 2017.

Colourful costumes and loud music delight at Grenadian Carnival 2017

Carnival spans many days, and involves lots of different events. This blog post is about our time at the Parade of the Bands.

The Parade of the Bands had a marvellously disorganized and organic feeling to it. Police monitored the area, but no one was particularly policing the route. In fact, we saw a parade truck back up into the crowds and no one seemed the least bit bothered.

People seemed to arrive and participate in the parade when and where they were ready.

Groups assemble to participate in Grenadian Carnival 2017

Loud, deafening music emanated from trucks of people who managed the music. I’d call them DJs but the Soca music delivery seems to be more creative than just spinning discs.

Groups of folks surveyed the parade from the top levels of the music trucks. The top-level folks tended to be attractive, and danced sporadically. The sun was shining but they aptly recreated the atmosphere of a nightclub.

Grenadian Carnival seems not discriminate based on age or body type. Sure, there were people with buff bodies and tiny costumes. But, there were modest outfits too. Carnival is for everyone.

I liked the mixtures of people. Older men wheeled carts carrying the steel drum sets for younger drummers.

An older man pushes the float for a young man playing in a steel drum band.

I enjoyed watching mothers be mothers in full feathered resplendence as they ushered their kids along the parade route, some of whom were in costumes themselves.

A mom with her children along the parade route.

I marvelled that a group of thirty or so women could arrive at one outfit to wear in a parade. Grenada must be a culture with fabulously collaborative bridesmaids. One group of women seemed to be 65 years or older. They danced and rocked glittering gold bodysuits.

Along the parade route, our children found glittering jewels and stray, colourful ostrich feathers.

Later, back on our boat, my nine-year old son held blue teardrop jewels to his chest, affecting pasties. At supper, my six-year olds danced in their underpants like Sumo wrestlers. Of course, we asked them to stop. (Parenting guides just don’t address these scenarios.)

This morning the tone on our boat is more muted. My kids are focused on playing carnival. And, they are operating a swift trade with their found treasures. So far, there have been only few fall outs about necklaces.

Grenadian Carnival exposed us to a slice of Caribbean culture that is so important to its people. One local man told me that the celebration is “bigger than Christmas”. He was Rastafarian and I later wondered if he celebrated Christmas. (They do, but on January 7th.)

I’m learning so much on our travels.

When my kids reflect back on their childhood I wonder what they will remember.


  1. They’ll be fine, I attended carnival in Mazatlan in 1978 with my parents when I grew up on a sailboat and can’t wait to get my kids there too, but in Grenada. Grab some nutmeg and a coldie for us!


  2. I so love reading your posts. “Marvellously disorganized” conveys a great deal. I’m going to remember this phrase and learn to embrace it.


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