I’m just trying to sit on the sidelines of the political football match, continue dodging the calculators and economical stats and recover from an absolutely amazing weekend! I know for some with political, religious and “moral,” agendas dissecting the the inaugural Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival will be their job for the rest of the year. And while we too love our country and wish nothing but the best for it and want to hold our government accountable for making the best decisions for us, sad to say, there were some of us who just wanted to have a good time…AND WE DID!
Several years ago I traveled to Miami and attended carnival there. Since then, I’ve just ogled at the photos of bacchanalists partaking in carnivals worldwide; a fun event that draws massive crowds, creates a festive atmosphere, allows people to release, let go and just unite through partying and music. For three days straight, I met so many new people, reconnected with ones I’d already known and shared wines, dances and gyrations with people whose faces I still can’t point out in a line up.
Here are my top 10 most memorable moments from the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival:
1. Making Fast Friends – There’s something to be said about women dressed in feathery, glittery, colorful costumes who go out with the same goal in mind: to dance, to party to fete like ah boss! I marched with Enigma Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival group in the Calypso Pirate Princess line. I didn’t realise how beautiful my yellow, purple, aqua and pink costume really was until I arrived at the meeting spot and blended in with the other ladies in my group. Almost instantly, there was this air of friendship, sisterhood and camaraderie among women, who were complete strangers. From helping each other fit and adjust those beautiful but intricate costumes, to ensuring we all had water, drinks and towel on the route, I made fast friends and I loved it! While on the road we also mingled with the other women from other sections of the band who also made it their business to keep an eye out for us. No names, numbers or Instagram handles were exchanged just respect, friendship and sincere help!
2. Feeling free, not judged and critiqued – Nope! I was not “the girl from TV” or “the girl from the news” wearing boy shorts, a bedazzled bra and feathers on my head! I was just a feter carrying on bad with no cares in the world! The road during mas is definitely a judgement free zone and I just want to thank God, the academy and my family for not judging!
3. Getting loose like Lucy (though I might be looser) – It took me nothing to get into party mode when Enigma’s big trucks pulled up to usher us down the road! They blasted the hottest soca, calypso and junkanoo music and got the party started. Looking back at the videos of my “looser than Lucy” dancing, I now realise that “I’m a bacchanalist!” I haven’t danced and jumped and squatted so much on my life than over the weekend. I literally got lost in the music!
4. Losing sleep but gaining a good time – Four major parties, four nights in a row leaves Ianthia a tired girl! Sleep was so elusive, so distant and super hard to come by carnival weekend and I aint even mad! Five days after my feteing began, I found myself diving for conch at my desk at work, yawning every two seconds, but still happy with my choice to stay out to 2:30 a.m, 5:30 a.m. and some nights not sleeping at all! DO NOT expect to sleep during carnival season, or fear missing out on a crucial portion of a good time!
5. Fetein, not partying – Yes, there is a difference! I could really say that in my younger days, I partied hard! I know what it is to get dressed up, go to the hottest spots with your girlfriends, grab drinks and food, “bussin’ a wine” and just having a plain old good time. But, this isn’t feteing. This isn’t carrying on like a “hooligan or a vagabond,” this isn’t doing it “like ah boss,” or getting “looser than Lucy.” Partying is not feteing. Feteing, is a feeling, a movement, an injection of something so energetic in your blood you can’t control yourself. Even if you wanted to stop dancing you couldn’t, if you wanted to take a break, it was non-existent. Feteing literally gives powers, I stand as a witness!
6. Mixing business with pleasure – “When you know what you’re doing, you do it quickly and get back to the party!” I came up with and wrote that quote under one of my photos on Instagram after conducting a string of interviews for one of the TV shows I host and finding myself showing off my worst behaviour to the similarly titled song by Skinny Fabulous or wukkin up with Bunji Garlin, Fayann Lyons and the Asylum Band. This was at the first night of the three night extravaganza. I had a plan to get my work over and done with to get back to the party…and that I did! In all honesty, I find it so unfair to call what I do “work” sometimes, given the fact that it’s almost always a party! Interviewing Alison Hinds the first day at 2:30 a.m., chatting it up about her song “Roll it Gal” and ducking work after a good fete! Sure, let’s call it work! Getting a bird’s eye view of and wining along at night two with Machel Montano as he sang Like Ah Boss, yea, ok let’s call it work! 😉
7. Doing my own makeup – The local make up artists did an amazing job on the faces I saw on the road…but I’m kinda glad I missed my appointment and did my makeup myself! After a while and after much movement and sweating airbrushed makeup fails you and gives your face a porous appearance. I know makeup is a major part of costuming and carnival, but for me less was better! Everyone looked beautiful regardless!
8. Not feeling my toes – Painful but of course memorable! The walk, stop, wine, stop, run, jump, jook, walk, run, jump combination I was doing surely put a beating on my feet! My toes felt like someone had set mouse traps for all 10 of them and they all got caught! I thought I was safe in simple laced up tennis, but I soon realized that no toenail was safe that day! Again, it was so worth it though! Thank God, toenails grow back! LOL!
9. Working out before hitting the road – Those hours on the stair master, elliptical, running the bridge and lifting weights made a difference on the road! Through exercising I was able to better manage my breathing, control my movements and keep up without the crowd for the entire three mile march. Although my abs never made it to the road, I legit saw and felt major improvements in my body that allowed me to keep up with the pros. About these abs though, summer maybe?? UGH!
10. Performing for the crowd – For the first leg of the march, it was all about wining on my band members, dancing to myself and filling up on water because where we started from the crowd hadn’t really assembled yet. But hitting the first group of spectators brought the performer in me to life! To see Bahamians and tourists of all ages cheer us on, smile as we passed and stopped us for photographs, I felt it was my duty to show them why the Bahamas Junkaoo Carnival is here to stay. It felt like I was being paid to make sure the two old ladies who sat in lawn chairs along Nassau Street continued to tap their feet to the beat, or to give the two little girls along Thompson Boulevard a dance partner.
It was an absolutely invigorating, energetic, fun time!
I even shot a whole episode of my entertainment show The Click! Watch below!
Also Check out the e-Life242 website for even more pics from the road fever!