Ole Mas

MaKing carnival where the essence of Ole Mas thrives.

Ole Mas is a vital component of Carnival celebrations in the Caribbean, where we dress up to have fun and make jokes about important topics and politics. It originated from traditional Carnival practices where we combine costumes, performances, and conversations to entertain everyone. People dress up in simple outfits or as characters like La Diablesse, Jab Jab and ShortKnee they walk around the streets to show off their costumes and make others laugh.

La Diablesse is a famous character in Caribbean stories, especially in Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, and other parts of the Eastern Caribbean. She appears as a beautiful woman dressed in white with a large hat covering her face. But beware—she has one cow’s hoof instead of a foot, hidden under her skirt. She tricks men who are easily swayed by her beauty, leading them deep into the bushes where they often disappear. Some tales even suggest she leads them to their deaths. To protect oneself from her, it’s said to glance at her feet, turn clothes inside out, or carry blessed items. She teaches us not to be deceived by appearances and to remain truthful.

Jab Jab is a notable figure in Carnival. This character attracts attention with its striking appearance: performers coat themselves in oil or molasses and often adorn chains, horns, and masks. These elements represent defiance and resistance against historical oppression. The chains harken back to the fight against slavery and wearing them during Carnival symbolizes the assertion of freedom and breaking free from past struggles. The use of oil or molasses holds spiritual significance, believed to offer protection and purification. Jab Jab embodies strength, resilience, and an unwavering spirit of freedom, making it a significant and meaningful presence in Carnival festivities.

The Shortknee character is one of Grenada’s unique traditional masquerade figures with a complex history, embodying both creativity and resistance associated with Carnival. Originally known as the “Grenade Pierrot,” the term “Short knee” emerged in the 1920s as Creole English replaced French Patois as the primary language. The secrecy behind the mask in the Shortknee costume serves a practical purpose

Ole Mas is more than just dressing up in bright clothes for fun; it’s about saying something important while also making people laugh and bringing everyone together. Each character in Ole Mas helps to tell our stories and history, entertaining us while also teaching us about our heritage. Ole Mas is lively, funny, and helps us feel like we’re part of a close community. It’s an important part of Carnival that shows off the best of Caribbean culture, embodying the spirit of MaKing Carnival.