New York Carnival & West Indian Day Parade 2022 is a celebration of West Indian culture with a Trinbagonian focus (Trinidad & Tobago). It’s the largest Caribbean Carnival in North America.
The West Indies can mean all the Caribbean islands, but in this case it means the Lesser Antilles including Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent. On the northeast coast of South America, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana share Trinbagonian culture. Haiti is included because it was the French Caribbean and the Haitian Revolution caused a Diaspora throughout the West Indies and the Caribbean. Jamaica is part of this too because English the English colonizers.
The West Indian Day Parade is the climax, but NYC’s Labor Day Carnival is a full Carnival with events for children, youth, a Brass Fest, Steel Pan competition, and a Dimanche Gras (Sunday Party). There are specific Trinbagonian carnival characters. Look for them.
To really experience NYC’s Labor Day Carnival, join a mas (carnival group), prepare with your mas, and march in the parade. You will be glad you did.
New York Carnival 2022
New York Carnival 2022 is at and around the Brooklyn Museum in Prospect Park from Thursday, September 1 to Labor Day Monday, September 5, 2022. wiadcacarnival.org
Aaron “Voice” St. Louis headlines the Vibes with Voice Soca concert at the Brooklyn Museum on Thursday, September 1, 2022 from 4-11pm. From $50. islandetickets.com 🇹🇹
The Island 2 Island NYC Soca concert features GBM Nutrson, Jadel, Adamo, Edwin Yearwood, Teddyson John, Lavaman, Melick, Vaughn, Kemmy, Ricardo Drue, Preedy, and Pumper at the Brooklyn Museum on Friday, September 2, 2022 from 4-11pm. From $60. frontlineticketing.com 🇹🇹
- 8am – Assemble at Kingston Avenue & St John’s Place.
- 9am – March down St John’s Place.
- Turns left on Franklin Avenue.
- Turns right on President St.
- To the Brooklyn Museum until 2pm.
New York Carnival J’ouvert 2022 Paintopia is New York Carnival’s official J’ouvert party with a bunch of great DJs on the Brooklyn Museum Grounds on Sunday, September 4, 2022 from 7am – 2pm. From $45. eventbrite.com 🇹🇹
The Amnesia Soca and Dancehall party is on the Brooklyn Museum grounds on Sunday, September 4, 2022 from 3-11pm. frontlineticketing.com 🇹🇹
West Indian Day Parade 2022
NYC’s West Indian Day Parade 2022 is on Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights from Schenectady Avenue to Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn on Monday, September 5, 2022 at 11am. Free. 🇹🇹🇧🇧🇩🇲🇬🇩🇱🇨🇻🇨🇬🇾🇸🇷🇬🇫🇯🇲🇭🇹
Around two million people are expected. Take some cash to enjoy delicious West Indian street food and keep yourself hydrated. There is jerk and curry and lots of good things to eat and drink. We recommend the curry goat. Wear a hat for the sun, and take some earplugs. Full semi speaker trucks lead some of the mas. They are the biggest speaker trucks we’ve ever seen.
NYC’s Labor Day Carnival and West Indian Day Parade are produced by the West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA) at wiadcacarnival.org
The Mother of Caribbean Carnival
Trinidad Carnival is the Mother of Caribbean Carnival. In colonial times, the French Haitian Diaspora in Trinidad didn’t allow the people to participate in their Mardi Gras masquerade parties. So people held their own celebrations at home – often mocking the French colonizers. “Mas,” a name for Carnival groups, derives from the French “mascarade.” In some Spanish-speaking countries, we call them “comparsas” the Carnival marching groups.
When abolition came to Trinidad and Tobago in 1833, the Mardi Gras celebration went wild because finally the people could celebrate their own African and Indigenous traditions without fear. Caribbean Carnival traditions developed from Trinidad Carnival and have been copied all over the world. Brazilian Carnival is bigger, but developed a hundred years later.
Religions are always fighting for dominance – even though fighting is very unreligious. Trinidad and Tobago’s last colonizer was English Protestant, but Carnival derives from Italian Catholic traditions. Most former English colonies move Carnival celebrations away from the traditional Catholic time before Ash Wednesday and Lent.
In New York City that works out because winter is too cold for outdoor festivals. Labor Day Weekend makes a good Carnival time because it falls just after Trinidad Independence Day on August 31.
Outsiders tend to focus on the big party on the weekend buildup to Carnival Tuesday, but communities plan six months to a year ahead. Preparations in Catholic countries start when Christmas ends on Three Kings Day, January 6. Celebrations build through the entire month before the big blowout on Carnival Tuesday (or Labor Day in NYC). Basically no serious work gets done in the community until Carnival is done.