Just in case you’ve been trying to escape the feeling – that sweet longing to play mas, wine up your waist, or palance with rum in hand. This is the revelry of carnival season; the feeling we yearn for when it’s over. Even if you tried to escape it, you couldn’t because you’re heartsick, weak, and you miss wukking up in the streets. You have a real, hard carnival tabanca.

With the official carnival season long gone, we can only clutch the pictures and memories from the ones happening this summer, across the Diaspora. From the Carolina’s Caribbean Cultural Fest in South Carolina to the West Indian Day Parade of New York to Caribana in Canada, mas will surely be played and the Caribbean culture will certainly be represented. This was the case at the Atlanta Caribbean Carnival in Decatur, GA. The first time ever held in this city, the carnival sported all the trimmings of Caribbean culture – the food, performers, costumes, and most importantly – endless fun. If you experienced the debauchery first hand, this will allow you to relive the annual moment. If not, then it is to remind you why you shouldn’t miss it next year.

4The Food

Bake & shark, stewed chicken and johnny cake, jerk chicken, and buss up shut were among the variety of food offered at carnival. Scotch bonnet, curry, and the sweet aroma of warm roti wafted through the air. There were also doubles and pholourie to sate your appetite as you waited for the main course. And when you needed something to out the fire of all those flavors, there was pineapple juice, sugar cane, and coconut water courtesy of Fyah Harp.

3The Music & Performances

As with any carnival, the Atlanta Caribbean Carnival was not short on performers, which included an all-star soca line-up, including Danskie who brought Bottles after Bottles, Mr. Ordinary – Cassie, R.U.D.E. Rudy Live, Party Animal Shelly G, 9th Level Lyrikal, Don’t Stop Shurwayne Winchester, and the Carnival Tabanca king himself, Bunji Garlin. The trucks sprayed masqueraders with water as the music rolled through waistlines. Mad vibes, endless sun, and wicked performers all made it an event to remember.

2The Costumes

Now, what is carnival without the costumes? An essential component for mas, the costumes told various stories that were brought to life by the masqueraders. There were Indian chiefs to princesses, moons, and revelers in their skimpiest, feathered pieces. The artistic designs of the outfits made them all the more inviting for wining and chippin’ down the road.

mas – to play/participate in a masquerade band
palanceparty, lime, and dance
wuk up – to gyrate your waistline
tabanca – missing someone or something so badly that you become sick, depressed, and are unable to behave normally.

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