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Caribbean Beat Magazine

Phagwah: Rite of Spring | Album

Celebrated in Trinidad since the nineteenth century, Holi — also known as Phagwah — is the Hindu spring festival, and a time to enjoy the company of friends and neighbours. At the 2019 celebrations in Aranguez, photographer Ziad Joseph captured the joyful free-for-all of colour

Photo by Ziad Joseph

Carnival backstage | Closeup

Carnival is a time to shine: from performers on the soca and calypso stage to costumed masqueraders in the street and fete-goers showing off their most acrobatic dance moves. But “the greatest show on earth” wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of the many thousands who work behind the scenes — year-round or seasonally — on the organisation and logistics of the festival. Laura Dowrich-Phillips and Georgia Popplewell meet four of the people whose backstage efforts make Carnival happen

Photo by Kibwe Brathwaite

Kambule: on morning ground | Snapshot

Early each Carnival Friday morning, before dawn breaks, crowds assemble at Piccadilly Greens in east Port of Spain for a re-enactment of a key event in the history of Trinidad — and of Carnival itself. Attillah Springer gives an intimate account of Kambule, when the spirits of the ancestors are invoked in a ritual of memory, story, song, and resistance

Kambule performers re-enact the beginning of the 1881 Canboulay Riots. Photo by Maria Nunes

The return of the baby doll | Backstory

With a frilly dress and bonnet, carrying a replica of an infant, the traditional Baby Doll is a playful Carnival character with a serious message about the social roles of women and men. A new generation of activists have adopted the Baby Doll as form of feminist intervention, write Amanda T. McIntyre and Jarula M.I. Wegner — like the masqueraders behind the Belmont Baby Dolls band

The Belmont Baby Dolls band made their debut at Carnival 2019. Patrick Rasoanaivo/Culturego Magazine

Santiago — carnival city | Explore

Santiago, Cuba’s second-largest city, has long been a hotbed of culture — and it comes to a blaze each July, as Santiago’s unique annual Carnival, centred on the feast of St James the Apostle, takes over. Donna Yawching explains the historical roots of Santiago Carnival, and why it’s a time of year when no one expects to get much sleep

Heat and noise, colour and chaos: Santiago de Cuba’s July Carnival overwhelms all the senses. Photo by Torukojin/iStockphoto.com