By Rachel Kalusin
Students of all different backgrounds danced the night away and covered themselves in paint at the annual J’ouvert celebration, hosted by the Caribbean Student Association on McKeldin Mall April 14.
The origins of J’ouvert date back to Caribbean natives celebrating the freedom and culture they obtained, following the emancipation of slavery in 1838.
In many Caribbean countries, residents throw a large street party during the festive season of Carnival, which occurs in February or March, before Lent. At the University of Maryland, festivities usually take place later in the year.
Junior neurobiology and physiology major Priyanka Anisetti is not Caribbean, but has attended this event three times, and said it features a mixture of Caribbean and American music.
“A lot of people enjoy dancing and throwing paint, which is why a lot of non-Caribbean students enjoy the event each year,” Anisetti said.
According to junior civil engineering major Lance Lewis, while J’ouvert is a Caribbean event, the majority of students in attendance are not actually Caribbean.
Lewis’ parents are both Caribbean and he enjoys the cultural celebration held in the heart of the university’s campus.
“It stays true to a lot of the culture,” Lewis said. “However, some things are changed, such as Caribbean music not being played throughout the entire night.”
Some of the non-Caribbean attendees join the celebration, unaware that it is related to Caribbean culture.
Junior government and politics major Paige Padmore was uncertain which group was throwing this event. She suggested having the Car
ibbean Student Association post flyers around campus or online that will help educate non-Caribbeans about the event.
“Truthfully, half the people don’t know that it’s a Caribbean event,” junior architecture major Soulie Nida said. “I didn’t know my first two years here either, until my friend told me and showed me videos of Caribbean countries celebrating.”