The Trinidad and Tobago Carnival is an annual event held on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, and is well known for participant's colorful costumes and exuberant celebrations.
Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago is the most significant event on the islands' cultural and tourism calendar, with numerous cultural events running in the lead up to the street parade on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. It is said that if the islanders are not celebrating it, then they are preparing for it, while reminiscing about the past year's festival. The heart of the musical celebration has been calypso; recently soca has replaced calypso as the most celebrated type of music. Costumes, stickfighting and limbo competitions are also important components of the festival.
Carnival as it is celebrated in Trinidad and Tobago is also celebrated in cities worldwide. These including Toronto's Caribana, Miami's Miami Carnival, Houston Carifest, London's Notting Hill Carnival as well as New York City's Labor Day Carnival to name a few.
Carnival was created when West African slaves mimicked their French owners who where known for their lavish costumes balls. Forbidden to partake in these festivities and confined to their quarters, slaves combined elements from their own cultures to their master's fete. Hence the creation of characters such as Jab Jab or Jab Molassie (Devils), Midnight Robbers, Imps, Lagahroo, Soucouyant, La Diablesse and Demons. With the abolition of slavery in 1838, freed Africans took their version of Carnival to the streets through expression of drums, riddim sections like tamboo bamboo and as each new immigrant population entered Trinidad, Carnival evolved into what we know today.