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Traditional Carnival Characters 

A Touloulou                                      King Vaval

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Baby Doll
Baby Doll is gaily dressed, decked in a frilled dress and bonnet. She carries a doll in her arms which symbolises an illegitimate baby. She stops male passers-by and accuses them of being the baby's father.
BatThe almost extinct Bat has a costume normally black or brown, fitted tightly over the masquerader's body. He wears a headpiece, leather shoes with metal claws, wings with a wingspan from 12-15 feet and matching gloves. There is a bat dance to go with the costume.
BookmanBookman, Gownman or Ruler is the principal character in the devil band. His costume consists of Tudor-style pants, flowing cape festooned with biblical scenes, an oversized head mask which with horns and a demon. He carries a pen and a large book in which he write the names of prospective souls for the devil. 
BurrokeetBurrokeet is derived from the Spanish word burroquito (little donkey). The burrokeet is constructed from bamboo so as to give the illusion of a dancer riding a small burro or donkey when he put his head through the hole in the donkey's neck and the body of the animal fitted around his hips and carries the reins in his hands. He performs a dance called Burriquite, which originated in Venezuela.
ColombinaColombina, a servant and a member of the Zanni from the Italian Commedia dell'arte is Harlequin's female counterpart. She is clever, crafty, and untamed. She wears colored patches in Harlequin's style.
Cow Band
The Cow Band, which dates back to the days of the Canboulay was traditionally played by abattoir employees. On Carnival Monday, small group of men dress in gowns of sacking made from rice bags completely covered with dried plantain leaves. Each masquerader wears a papier-mâché mask representing the head of a cow mounted by a pair of cow horns with which he would charge the bullfighter. 
Dame LorraineDame Lorraine or Dame Lorine is a descendant of the French planters, dressed up in elegant costumes of the French aristocracy complete with elaborate fans and hats. They parade in groups at private homes, particularly on Carnival Sunday night.
DragonThe Dragon, sometimes called King Beast, is the fire-beast from hell, coming to earth as a bringer of destruction, the one who understands good and evil and all its elements. The costume, as the name says is that of a dragon with an overall costume of scales, a dragon head with a movable tongue and a long scaled tail. Chains are tied around the beast which are held by Imps, in order to restrain it as it comes dancing a 'Dragon Dance' through the streets.The aim of the 'Dragon Dance' is to captivate and frighten its audience.
Fancy Indian
Fancy Indians, among the most spectacular mas costumes, are based on the indigenous peoples of North America. The costume consists of a headpiece with feathers sticking up, and more feathers making tails down the back, covering the entire body. A Fancy Indian's 'wigwam' is decorated with ostrich plumes, mirrors, beads, feathers, papier mache masks, totem poles, canoes and ribbons. 
GilleThe 'Gilles', or the priests of the carnival, wearing wax masks are the main characters of the Carnival of Binche.
HarlequinHarlequin or Arlecchino the clown, is the most popular of the Zanni or comic servant characters from the Italian Commedia dell'arte. He is a so poor that his costume is full of holes which are stiched to makes it look like colorful diamond-shaped patches. He wears a red and white mask.
Jab JabThe name Jab Jab is derived from a French dialect for 'Diable Diable" meaning a pretty devil mas which resembles a mediaeval jester's costume. His costume consists of satin knickers, and a satin shirt which are divided into panels of alternating colours with points of cloth at the waist, from which bells hang. On the chest, there is a shaped cloth decorated with swansdown, rhinestones and mirrors. Stockings are worn on the feet, while the headress consists of a hood with stuffed cloth horns. The Jab Jab has a thick whip of plaited hemp which he swings and cracks threateningly. 
Jab MolassieThe Jab Molassie is one of several varieties of devil mas played in Trinidad and Tobago carnival. Jab is a French dialect for 'Diable' (Devil), and Molassie is a French dialect for Mélasse (Molasses). Jab is an amply blessed woman, usually played by a man. The costume consists of short pants or pants cut off at the knee, a mask and horns. The Jab Molassie carries a pitch fork and chains, and wears locks and keys around his waist. The whole body is smeared with grease, tar or mud and the eyes are coloured red, green or blue.
Midnight RobberThe Midnight Robber is one of the most beloved colourful traditional carnival characters. He is identified by his extravagant costumes and distinctive speech, called “Robber Talk” which ha a boastful, mocking style. His costume is inspired by cowboy traditions, sporting an oversized hat on which a coffin is often superimposed, a flowing black cape painted with a skull and cross bones ; black satin shirt and pantaloons and shoes or boots. He blows a whistle and carries a gun, sword or dagger and a wooden money box in the shape of a coffin. 
MinstrelThe character of a Minstrel is based on the popular American minstrel shows. The faces are painted white, while the costume consists of a scissors tail coat, striped trousers, tall straw hat and gloves. 
Moko JumbieThe Moko or stilt dancer is an authentic African masquerade on sticks or stilts 10 to 12 ft high. His costume consists of a brightly coloured skirt or pants, jacket and elaborate hat. A Moko dances through the streets all day, and collects money from people on the upper floors and balconies. The word "Moko" is derived from the name of a West African God and "jumbie" or "ghost" was added by liberated slaves. It was believed that the height of the stilts was associated with the ability to foresee evil faster than ordinary men. The Moko Jumbie was believed to be the protector of the village. 
Negue Jadin
The Negue Jadin or field slave, now extinct belongs to the pre-emancipation era. His costume consists of a tight-fitting satin or khaki breeches upto just above the knee where willows are hung, and a bright, plain coloured shirt with a "fol" or heart-shaped panel of contrasting colour on the chest bordered with swans down. The 'fol' is decorated with tiny mirrors and rhinestones. His face is covered with a mask.
PedrolinoPedrolino or Pierrot or Pedro is a character from the Italian Commedia dell'arte. He is a lunar character is a dreamer. His face is white like his costume: a large trousers and a blouse with a collar and very large black buttons drawn on the front. This loyal servant is trustworthy, honest, and in every way devoted to his master. 
Pierrot GrenadeThe Pierrot Grenade is a descendant of the Pierrot known for his elegant costume and fierce fighting prowess with a whip or bull pistle. He is a finely dressed masquerader and deeply learned scholar quoting Shakespearean characters as Julius Caesar, Mark Anthony and Othello at length.
PulcinellaPulcinella or Punch (Polochinelle in French) is a classical Commedia dell'arte character of Italy. His main characteristic, from which he acquired his name, is his extremely long crooked nose, which resembles a beak.  He is portrayed as pitiable, helpless, and often physically disfigured. He usually has a hump or a distinct limp. He is dressed in white and wears a black mask conciliating the contrasts of black and white.
Sailor Mas
The Sailor Mas character was introduced in the 1880s when British, French and American naval ships came to Trinidad. He wears one of the more popular costumes, lightweight and inexpensive. There are several variations on the Sailor Mas like the Free French Sailor, King Sailor and Fancy Sailor. 
TouloulouThe Touloulou is the most famous character of the Carnival of French Guiana. She is the queen of Carnival, a lady elegantly dressed from head to foot which represents the bourgeois women of the 18th and 19th centuries.
VavalVaval is the name of the the mascot, the King of Carnival who is burnt or cremated On Ash Wednesday (a ceremony called "Grand brilé Vaval"). This signals the end of the festivities and everyone marches in black and white mourning Vaval.

Try the Quiz : Traditional Carnival Characters

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