Jouvert in Boston (in progress)


Every August, the Caribbean diaspora gathers in Dorchester, MA to participate in Jouvert, a morning celebration which opens the Boston Caribbean Carnival. The word Jouvert results from the contraction of the french words for ‘dawn’, Jour Ouvert. The event was brought by the caribbean immigration that has established in Dorchester and surrounding areas of Boston in the last few decades. Revelers gather at 5:30 am to parade down Blue Hill Avenue toward Franklin Park, with steel bands, people dressed up as demons, dancers and pranksters. 

 

Jouvert is a gathering of various Caribbean nationalities celebration home

traditions in Boston for 10 years. Jouvert and the Carnival were brought in with caribbean migration to the city, decades ago. 2015

The event is irreverent and chaotic like nothing seen in Boston. People covered in paint, live steel band music and black painted devils (Jab Jab) walk down Blue Hill Ave, starting at 6 am transforming Blue Hill Ave from a commercial to a giant party. 2014

Historically, Carnivals around the world preced lent (February/March) as a last opportunity for people to partake meat, alcohol and frivolous behavior before the six week abstaining season that ends in Easter Sunday. In the Boston edition, Jouvert takes place during the last weekend of August. 2013

The celebration is also a space where Carnival and puritanical New England Boston values clash, with the city trying to reign in over the spontaneous nature of the event. 2014

In 2015, the parade was shortened to half its length in response to the killing of Dawnn Jaffier, in the aftermath of the 2014 edition, victim of crossfire between local gangs. 2015

Two woman enjoying the parade. 2013

One of the mobile bands, with decorations. 2014


Police cars flank dancers along the route of the parade. 2018

Despite all challenges Jouvert will continue to take place every August in a balancing act between tradition and the values of the host city. 2014

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