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Image courtesy of the NYUAD Caribbean Students Association

Caribbean Culture Week

The Caribbean Students Association hosted its inaugural Caribbean Culture Week, which treated the student body to a series of exciting events.

Dec 8, 2018

From Nov. 25 to Dec. 1, the Caribbean Students Association (CSA) hosted its inaugural Caribbean Culture Week, which treated the student body to a series of exciting events filled with dance, authentic Caribbean cuisine, language workshops, cultural exploration and good vibes. This year’s overarching theme was Carnival — a masquerade party tradition celebrated throughout the Caribbean with roots in African Culture and Catholicism and origins in Trinidad and Tobago — which was contextualized and celebrated throughout all of the week’s festivities. Providing a space to tackle the misperceptions and stereotypes that are commonly attached with carnival and broader Caribbean culture was an underlying motivation for Abigail Wilson, Class of 2019 and President of CSA, in the creation of Caribbean Culture Week.
“We always knew that we wanted to do like a carnival or J’ouvert style celebration. But one thing we were really worried about is not having the context behind it, because I think something we are always really conscious of how Caribbean culture is kind of generalized and reduced to a single dimension of parties and stuff. So the whole point of Caribbean Week was to have an entire series of events leading up to it that kind of gave a bit more context to the final celebration,” said Wilson.
The week started off with what is known as a Lime Night. Lime is a colloquial term in Trinidad and Tobago which essentially means “to chill” or “hang out” while sharing food, drinks and quality conversation. Students who participated in this year’s Lime Night on Nov. 25, got a chance to try some authentic Jamaican beef patties from Papa Burty’s while discussing the cultural context and traditions behind Carnival.
On Nov. 28, CSA partnered with the Tower of Babel to deliver a workshop, lead by Simran Motiani, Class of 2020, on the ins and outs of Jamaican Patois; including how to understand the lingo and common conversational phrases. CSA members hoped that students would be able to employ this newfound knowledge to translate dancehall music that would be blasting during Sunday’s celebration.
In preparation for Sunday’s extravagant simulation of Carnival, the CSA held a SoKaFit Dance Session on Nov. 30, which is a cross between fitness and Soca music and dance. Soca is a genre of music which is native to Trinidad and Tobago and is commonly performed during Carnival. This penultimate event of the Caribbean Culture Week was hosted by Gabrielle Branche, Class of 2021 and e-board member of CSA, who introduced participating students to Soca music, taught them two pieces of choreography and got them ready to bust some moves during Sunday’s Carnival celebrations.
On Dec. 1, members of the NYUAD student body gathered together on the highline above Al Diwan in anticipation of the final event of CSA’s inaugural Caribbean Culture Week: J’ouvert. J’ouvert means “day break” in French Patios and is also the event that inaugurates the Carnival celebrations in Trinidad and Tobago. Roughly 130 members of the student body attended the celebrations which featured a live DJ from Dubai — DJ Teddy Jam — as well as tasty Jamaican jerk chicken, rice and peas and fried plantains catered by Reggae Bird Caribbean Cuisine — a Jamaican catering service. In the spirit of J'ouvert — which is usually a very colourful and messy event — students had the opportunity to get wet, vibrant and wild with water balloons, colorful powders, paints and buckets of cold water. After the battle had concluded and left everyone soaked and bright with paint, the participants even got to parade around the highline to traditional music from Trinidad to simulate the festival.
Branche — who dedicated long hours to the realisation of the event — was happy to see students excited and vibing; she believes the event was a complete success.
“The turnout was great considering it was the first event of its kind having over 100 people, including Dean Farley and certain faculty,” said Branche. “We were really happy, it was way more people than we thought, so much so that we ran out of plates. The vibes were really good, people left saying that they enjoyed it and even two days after said that they still enjoyed it.”
Dylan Palladino is News Editor. Email him at
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