A photo of three women who attended Trinidad Carnival

The Road of Restoration

After a hiatus, Carnival made its return. In 2022, and so far in 2023, masqueraders have triumphantly marched, wukked, wined and chipped to new tunes and old, embracing friends and crossing stages like they hadn’t missed a beat.

Among the most anticipated road marches was Trindad’s. After a three year hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s celebration offered an opportunity for people to reconnect with an experience that has long kept them grounded and connected to self and one another. 

With plenty of carnivals in the year approaching—and plenty of carnivals to prepare and pack for—we asked the people who play mas about what it means to step back onto the pavement to reunite with much-loved festivities and reflect alongside portraits taken by photographer Marc Jeffery of this year’s Trinidad Carnival attendees.

Carnival finally came back home.  

“To me, returning to the road to play mas is all about honoring this new phase of my life. Carnival is liberation, and I’ve never felt more free and appreciative of my life and physical body than right now. It’s time to celebrate that.” 

— Kayla Greaves  

“Returning on the road to play mas means that I get to feel that sense of euphoria and liberation again. From jumping in the street and singing along to your favorite songs, to having your favorite on-the-road drinks and snacks and the beautiful, yet meaningful, costumes, returning to the road to play mas meant that I got to experience one of my favorite parts of my culture again!”

— Simone Mills 

“During the pandemic, I [saw] the Exhibition grounds where Caribana is held. The emptiness of the grounds that weekend in August 2020 was something I hope we never have to experience again. In 2021, with the pandemic still ongoing, I created a painting titled “Carnival Tabanca.” It was a Carnival-themed piece dedicated to the true tabanca I was feeling from missing out on another year of playing mas. I missed it so much that I picked one of my favorite past mas costumes—I keep most of them—got dressed, and walked down to the [Exhibition] grounds with my painting to showcase and [to] show others that playing mas still lives in our hearts! Many pedestrians stopped to speak with me to share their mas experiences and how much they missed [jumping]. It was a truly wonderful experience, but of course only a glimpse of the real thing.

This year, I am ecstatic to be able to play mas again in Toronto for the first time since 2018. I hope that everyone who plays this year knows how important it is to keep this tradition alive and well, not only in Toronto but around the world.”

— Sarah Quildon

“The first word that comes to me when I think about Carnival and returning to the road is freedom! Playing mas has become a time for me to release all inhibitions and celebrate my culture unapologetically.  At this point, playing mas has become a type of self-care for me and the pandemic stole that from me. Knowing that I’ll finally be able to put on a beautiful costume and chip down the road with my friends (who have now become family) invokes a special kind of joy.”

— Anika Wright 

“I’ve jumped in Barbados’ Grand Kadooment parade six times before between 2010 and 2018. It’s honestly one of the best days of the year for me. Signing up for a costume this year and preparing for this jump up day feels like going back a warm hug of familiarity. Everyone always gets along and just wants to enjoy themselves. It’s an opportunity for you to make new friends and reconnect with ones that you haven’t seen all year. I couldn’t be happier to be going back on the road.”
— Nicole Sealy


“For me, returning to the road to jump represents emancipation. It is the freedom to return to my roots, to return to revelry, to relish the beauty and freedom of soca culture after COVID put everything on pause. This is also my first time jumping in my homeland, Barbados, and it feels perfect for that to be my first mas after three years where I couldn’t experience our culture in full. I am so ready to be back on the road.”
— Talia Leacock

“To me, returning to the road felt triumphant. After very long and difficult years through the pandemic and not being able to see my loved ones in Trinidad for over a year and a half, returning to the road was the culmination of perseverance. It felt, to me, deeply personal this year — like I was coming home.”

— Vianne Singh

“[Being back on the road is] being the living embodiment of expression, passion and culture for the people before and after me”

 — Adrian Wright

The Ultimate Guide to Antigua Carnival

Our highly-anticipated 2024 Ultimate Guide to Antigua Carnival is here! Lock in those flights and stays, for a fete-filled time…
The Ultimate Guide to Jamaica Carnival

The Ultimate Guide to Jamaica Carnival

Our highly-anticipated 2024 Ultimate Guide to Jamaica Carnival is here! Lock in those flights and stays, for a fete-filled time…
Mas in Miami Is Unlike Anything Else

Mas in Miami Is Unlike Anything Else

A few weeks ago, masqueraders took to the streets of Miami for a colourful celebration of Caribbean culture
The Ultimate Guide to Sugar Mas (St. Kitts & Nevis Carnival)

The Ultimate Guide to Sugar Mas (St. Kitts & Nevis Carnival)

Experience the sweetness of St. Kitts & Nevis during Sugar Mas, which combines the festivities of Christmas with the pageantry…
The Ultimate Guide to Saving For Carnival

The Ultimate Guide to Saving For Carnival

With our guide, discover how you can chase carnivals without breaking the bank and by saving up your coins for…
Scroll to Top