Grenada Carnival … Where the Jab Jab Posse
Grenada Carnival is color, music, mas, steel pan and brass, with a touch of class. It’s fun and rum, and feting all day in the hot sun. But of all the things Grenada Carnival is and can be, nothing comes close to jumping J’ouvert with the Jab Jab Posse.
Want a true taste of carnival, Grenada style? … Just find a Jab Jab band on J’ouvert morning.
Pay the Devil …Jab Jab
devil, and it is a form of masquerade played on the carnival monday morning (J’ouvert). Grenada did not invent the Jab, but there is no place on earth that you will find Jab as in a Greanda J’ouvert.
Jab is easy to play, and the costume if I can call it that is cheap. All you need is an old shorts and a comfortable pair of old sneakers. Throw in a vest/tank top, or bikini top with that for the women, and you’re all set.
Black from Head to Toe
You got your skimpy shorts, and sneakers, now it’s time to get covered in black. But first, unless you want to look like a Jab Jab all year round, you will need this little tip…
Apply generous amounts of petroleum jelly (Vaseline), baby oil, or better yet lard (yes, I did say lard, you know the kind you make bread with), to your face, arms legs, and all over. The more lubricant you apply on your body the easier it is to clean off the black.
So where does this black come from? Well, if you knew you won’t ever play. But I’ll run that risk, and still tell you. It can be one, or a concoction of any of these
- Car Engine oil
- Water base black paint
- Or some other secret recipe
Jab has been a center piece of Grenada Carnival j’ouvert for many years, and hundreds of Jab players use these mixtures with no side effects. I personally have used them all, and never got as much as a skin blemish. The key is to apply that vaseline, baby oil, or lard. It makes a great buffer between you and the Black.
Join a band or go solo …
You can hook up with one of the local Jab bands. They normally supply the black, and can be a great source other pieces of costumes, such as chains, rubber (and real) snakes, horns, etc. That’s the best way to go, it keeps the parade more organized, and it’s less of a hassle trying to figure it all out for yourself.
Most people though do not go that route. They simple show up in shorts, and sneakers and mingle in with the Jab, or find a friend with Black, and before you know it they turn Jab too.
The bottom line is this, whether you intend to play Jab or not … on j’ouvert morning, at Grenada Carnival expect to get dirty. If a friend doesn’t intentially daub you with black, then a Jab Jab might inadvertently rub against you. So you won’t be getting home all clean and gorgeous as you left it.
Blue, Red, Yellow, Green devils …
Some folks find the Jab and all that black just too hard core and intimidating (that’s what make’s it so much fun). So they opt to play a gentler, still dirty, but more colorful version of the Jab. They use water base colored paint, it comes off during a regular shower or swim. This has gotten very popular also in recent years.
Drum, Counch Shell and chant …
Another aspect of the Jab Jab at Grenada Canival you will like is the is the music. Real Jab Jab mas do not use D.J music or any big truck with bands playing. No that’s not Jab. Jab has it’s own music, consisting of drumming, conch shell blowing, and Jab chanting. It’s authentic, just the way African slaves and ancestors use to do it. And the rhythm captivate your soul.
The rest of Grenada Carnival is just as much fun, but it is also not very different from many other islands. Jump with the Jab, and that’s an experience you will find yourself sharing at every party and hangout for years and years to come.
Take lots and lots of pictures for when you return home. Your family and friends will see it, but still won’t believe that’s you in black (blue, or red) having all that fun … no sweat, best way to solve the mystry is to just bring them with you next year for another round of J’ouvert at Grenada Carnival, … your Jab Jab posse will be waiting.