Trinidad Carnival: Kambule


Trinidad and its famous Carnival have a very rich history, as can be seen every year while attending Kambule. Marking the start of carnival, commencing at dawn on Friday morning, the resistance of emancipated Trinidadians is re-enacted. Trinidad’s Carnival season is an explosion of color, music, fun and dance, and one of the must-see events during this time is the re-enactment Kambule, also known as Camboulay. This performance is a powerful representation of the island’s history and the struggles of enslavement and injustice. 

The re-enactment takes place at dawn and is a thrilling and emotional experience that leaves a lasting impression. The performance begins with a procession of drummers and dancers dressed in traditional attire, moving through the space in a vibrant display of culture and energy. As the procession continues, the performers re-enact the struggles and triumphs of the fight against Captain Baker and the British.

The drumming and dancing become more intense, allowing the audience to feel the passion and dedication that has gone into the performance. Once the Kambule is over, further performers take the stage now involving the public. The people are now closing in and engaging with the performers, making for a beautiful experience. The different groups of performers will wear their group dress and play different roles in the overall group dynamic, creating one coherent performance display. Spectators as well as performers of all ages participate, making it suitable for families, friends and everyone that enjoys having fun while embracing Trinidad’s rich history. 

These performances are a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Trinidad and the resilience of its people. They remind us of the struggles of the past and the need to celebrate our history and heritage. The Kambule is a powerful and moving experience that should not be missed. When visiting the beautiful island of Trinidad, witnessing the re-enactment or Kambule, is an essential part of the Trinidadian Carnival experience. 

It is a powerful representation of the island’s history and a celebration of its cultural heritage. The performances that follow the main event involve the local community, accentuating the diversity of the island and its people. It is a reminder of the struggles of the past and the need to celebrate our history and heritage. It is a way to give back to the ancestors and those that made it possible to live in peace.



Words and Photography by MARIA FATIMA HASELHUBER