Welcome to the National Carnival Commission of Trinidad and Tobago

Traditional Mas Characters - Moko Jumbie

(Photo courtesy the Carnival Institute of Trinidad and Tobago)

The Moko Jumbie derives its name from West African tradition. The “Moko” is an Orisha (God) of Retribution. The term “Jumbie” was added post-slavery. The Moko Jumbie was regarded as a protector whose towering height made it easier to see evil before ordinary men.

As a masquerade, these characters make long strides balanced on stilts that can be from 10 to 15 feet in height. In the past, the Moko Jumbie was sometimes accompanied by a dwarf in similar costume but without stilts, to accentuate Moko's height. He danced all day through the streets, collecting money on a plate from the people crowded on the second-floor windows and balconies. Often the stilts are painted in stripes or decorated with coloured fabric. The Moko Jumbie is usually dressed in brightly coloured costume that consists of long pants or skirts and a simple shirt. The Moko Jumbie may also wear a hat.

Traditional Mas Characters - Burrokeet

(Photo courtesy Wonder of the World – TheBookmann https://thebookman.wordpress.com/category/carnival/page/9/)

The Burrokeet, which originated from the Spanish word burroquito (little donkey), is designed to look like a dancer riding a donkey. The costume comprises a decorated donkey's head typically made from coloured paper.

The body is covered by a long satin skirt with a sisal tail, sometimes decorated with flowers. The bit, bridle, and reins are made of coloured cord.

The rider wears a large matador straw hat and performs a dance that mimics that of a donkey. Sometimes, the Burrokeet performer will stage a dance called Burriquite, which originated in Venezuela.

Traditional Mas Characters - Baby Doll

(Photo courtesy Nyla’s Crafty Teaching, http://mscraftynyla.blogspot.com/2014/03/its-carnival-in-t.html)

The Baby Doll character, a common sight during late 19th Century Carnival, is a satirical portrayal of a mother with an illegitimate baby. Often the masquerader portrays a gaily dressed younger woman, with a frilled dress exposing her legs, gloves, and a large poke bonnet or mob cap. In all instances she carries a doll representing the illegitimate child.

The masquerader usually stops male passers-by and various audience members, accusing them of fathering the child, then embarrassing them into giving money for milk, clothing, other needs, and/or to simply cease her accusations.

Traditional Mas Characters - Fireman

(Photo courtesy the Carnival Institute of Trinidad and Tobago)

Fireman: This sailor belongs to the Engine Room; this costume is made out of a vest, waist cloth in his back pocket, an officer's cap, a pair of goggles, a large pair of gloves, a decorated iron stoker, swans down, metallic dust, braids and tinsels.

Traditional Mas Characters - King Sailor

(Photo courtesy the Carnival Institute of Trinidad and Tobago)

The King Sailor's costume typically consists of a white drill or corduroy pants and shirt with a sailor collar. There are epaulettes on each shoulder, a red sash across the chest, a crown on the masquerader's head, cords, medals and war ribbons on the left side of the chest and a walking stick in his hand.