July 6, 2019, noon
Carifiesta is one of Montréal’s most colourful and exciting parades, featuring everything from steel-pan bands to participants dressed in costumes made of colourful feathers and bouncing fibreglass rods.
Carifiesta is a tradition born of slavery in Trinidad and Tobago, when French colonial masters hosted masquerade balls three days before Ash Wednesday. Slaves got a day off and mimicked their masters at their own parties, a tradition that morphed into Trinidad’s famed Carnival.
That tradition migrated north to such cities as Miami, New York, Toronto and Montréal. Montréal’s competing floats, known as “mas bands,” all “play mas” (as in masquerade). Participants in “mas camps” throughout the city “build mas” (stitch costumes and build floats).
The annual big parade through downtown Montréal draws more than 100,000 spectators.
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