Montreal, July 6, 2019
Carifiesta scorches the streets of Montreal
The 44th edition of the Montreal Carifiesta parade rolled along Rene-Levesque boulevard today, with feathers and paint flying to loud bass beats.
Under a scorching hot sun, besides being in the midst of a heat wave, took place the Carifiesta parade. Representing all the nations that make up the Caribbean islands, and they all came to party. Hard. With paint and powder flying around, people danced. The twerking was in full force. Some were scantily clad and others in full livery. Some of the more elaborate costumes were works of art. Children rode their parents shoulders. Others jumped around. Teens took part. Their parents were there. As were Grandparents. Truly a family affair and a celebration of roots.
The pure energy on display was dazzling. Rather refreshing in the heat and humidity, but none of that seemed to hinder the dancing, running and jumping about. The colors on display and the proudly waved flags, the fine feathered get-ups and, in contrast, the skimpy bathing suits roared with festivity. Some came with cricket bats and buckets of paint. Gallons of the stuff.
Putting the past to rest
The origins of the Carifiesta, go back to the days of slavery. Trinidad and Tobago, while under French rule, would have one day a year where the enslaved were free while their masters went about an elaborate masquerade celebration. As a result, these gatherings resulted in Trinidad’s Carnival. From that, migrants brought the tradition to New York, Miami, Toronto and Montreal. As a result, we now celebrate across the world.
Despite a brief history of violence that lead to several changes, Carifiesta went down without issue and with a lot of fun. Originally named Carifete, and paraded along the streets on Notre-Dame-de-Grace, until a gun fight between rival street gangs marred the festival. From there, it rebranded and moved to the streets of downtown Montreal and grew into its modern day incarnation.
Certainly, Carifiesta has brushed all the negativity of its past under the rug and has become a fantastic celebration of life.