Visual Culture: Ten Traditional Mas Characters You’ll Find At Trinidad Carnival

February 8, 2016


Another elaborate costume that requires a certain amount of personal space,ย  Carnival bats are known to have a wingspan of as wide as 15 feet, with wings made from wire and bamboo or cane. Most often, bats appear on foot in brown and black costumes with their face covered in a mask. However, moko jumbies on stilts are also known to appear as bats, and with even more elaborate, multi-colored costumes. It is said that those who have played bat mas long enough begin resembling the bat in their everyday life.


And, a few more fading mas characters still worth a mention, though rarely seen today.:

Originally played by men, pis en lit translates as ‘piss in the bed’ and is a disgusting mas for many. Clad in a nightgown that could be stained with what is to be considered menstrual blood and carrying around a used chamber pot (or posey, to the Trinidadian), the masqueraders would demand money from viewers. Considering that many men still choose to dress in nightgowns with clean poseys for J’Ouvert, maybe the mas isn’t so absent after all.

Then there is Miss Mary a well-dressed woman carrying around a mysterious box with things inside that she will convince you are worth seeing… after you pay her, of course. Once paid, look inside and maybe you will see something wonderful โ€” or maybe you will see a doll’s head and an old banana skin. Either way you’ve already been fooled and the payment is non-refundable. Tricked ya!