When is Carnival Monday?
When is Spicemas?
Like many countries in the Caribbean, Grenada celebrates a colourful and exuberant carnival. Since 1981, it has taken place on the second Monday and Tuesday in August.
Before independence in 1974, the Grenadian carnival has been celebrated on the traditional date of the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent.
After experimenting with celebrating the carnival on Easter and in May, it was decided that August would be a more suitable date as it wouldn't compete with the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival and that time of the year was better placed to allow expatriate Grenadians and those with Grenadian roots to be able to return home during the summer months of the North American and European seasons.
Known as Spicemas or August Mas, the carnival is the premier cultural event in Grenada and is marked by two days of public holidays on which banks and most shops will be closed.
From dawn on Carnival Monday (J'Ouvert), traditional masqueraders dressed as devils called Jabs-Jabs (French Creole, from diable diable ‘devil devil’) parade through the streets of Grenada. They are joined by the Ole Mas who are individuals that present satire and theatre on the events of the past year during the morning.
In the afternoon, the traditional and fancy Mas bands participate in the Monday parade. These traditional masqueraders feature the striking Short Knee bands. With identical head coverings, batwing sleeves and three-quarter (short knee) baggy trousers, they chant and box the air as they dance through the streets from their villages into the capital of St. George's. They carry talcum powder as they make their way through the towns and villages. The powder is a symbol of appreciation and sprinkled on those who make cash donations.
Next come the modern costumed bands who cross the stage at the National Stadium before parading through the streets of St. George’s in the afternoon sun, gyrating to the beat of the year’s most popular calypsos.
The costumed bands are often heralded by the arrival of the King and Queen of the band, the large costumes which vied for King and Queen of Carnival during the Sunday night Dimarche Gras.
The Carnival celebrations draw to an end on Tuesday with the parade of the bands. Known as 'Last Lap', Masqueraders and bands from all parishes dance through the streets in their brightly coloured costumes to the delight of the throngs of onlookers, accompanied by the sounds of calypso music, steel bands and DJ's playing the latest carnival songs.