Updated: Jun 20, 2022
Credit: J.Hamilton Photography
First of all, what is J'ouvert?
J'ouvert is the French Creole term meaning "dawn" or "daybreak", as this is the time at which the celebration is typically held and usually signals the start of carnival
1) If you're renting, borrowing, or driving your own car, make sure to prepare the car so as not to damage the upholstery. Think water party, but instead of just water, they throw paint, mud, oil and/or chocolate. We suggest huge garbage bags big enough to go over the back of the seat, and towels to go on the base. Make sure to carry large water bottles in your trunk and a change of old clothes.
2) Pro tip: Oil your entire body using baby oil. Make sure to include your ear - yes, really! It will be a lot easier to get off when you're showering and if you can, shower outside first.
3) Wear Sunblock. Yes, we know you started in the night, but you'll be in the blazing Caribbean Sun come 10:00 am. In fact, Sun Block then Baby oil.
4) Advising you not to carry your phone or leave it in the car would probably fall on deaf ears. If you have an old phone, swap your SIM. If you're determined to carry your phone that has 3 cameras or more, we suggest investing in a waterproof case that comes with a lanyard. Trust us, all the live snaps and stories aren't worth it if you don't have your phone for Carnival Morning.
5) One thing about Caribbean Fetes; there's no shortage of rum! But this isn't the time to go overboard. A Trini would say, "Pace yuh self". J'ouvert ends a couple of hours before the big PUMP and most times is the day before the road march and you do not want to show up to your makeup appointment looking all trashed and hung over. It will ruin the rest of your vibe for the day.
6) If you're a prude and acting stush, DON'T go to J'ouvert. This is where you get STINK & DUTTY. You can't get upset if a random stranger throws paint on you or if a beautiful woman walks over to your man and plasters his face in paint. As the song goes; "Cyah play Mas if you 'fraid powda!". And if you're not careful with your bumcee, you may end up with a random hand-slap-stamp. Embrace the culture, random people will come over and Jam on you uninvited typically lasting for around 10 secs. You're also allowed to do all of the above, so have fun and enjoy!
7) There is no getting away from the consumption of drinking some form of paint, mud, powder or clay. It’s not going kill you, Jamaicans say "What don't kill yuh, fatten yuh". If consuming paint isn't your thing, walk with your own cup with a lid and a straw, and possibly a handkerchief to cover your mouth
8) DO NOT wear your new kicks, this is not the place for your Air Force Ones. If you're travelling to any of the Caribbean destinations, pack an old sneaker or pick up a $20 sneaker from Marshalls. You must be willing to part with anything you're wearing to J'ouvert.
9) If you're fussy about your hair, carry a shower cap or a scarf. 100%, Paint will get in your hair and you won't have time to get it all out before Carnival morning.
10) As with any Caribbean Carnival party or J'ouvert, the less clothes the better
Credit: J.Hamilton Photography
Keep your squad close. It's easy to get lost in a J'ouvert. When everyone is painted, everyone pretty much looks the same. Try to leave an hour before it ends, as it's always 'madness' to leave. Set a time, and everyone meets at the car at that time.
Enjoy and have a safe Carnival!