Is it carnival time? Yes, it’s time for the Vincy Mas Carnival!

After waiting out Hurricane Beryl in St. Lucia, where it impacted us only as a tropical storm, we continued our journey south to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, heading into the very heart of the hurricane’s path. The news showed how devastating the hurricane was for many of the Grenadine islands, where more than 98% of houses were destroyed. Having seen the aftermath of the tropical storm in Soufriere, St. Lucia, we were bracing ourselves for scenes of destruction—broken trees, torn-off roofs, beached boats. What we didn’t expect was to stumble into CARNIVAL!

Yes, today we arrived in Kingstown, the capital of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and found ourselves at the Vincy Mas Carnival. We landed just in time for the Parade of Bands, the grand finale of the two-week celebration, which this year coincided with the hurricane and its aftermath.

Hurricane Beryl set records for its early timing and unusually southern track for this time of year. But why is the Vincy Mas Carnival held in the middle of summer instead of before Lent? Until 1977, it was, but now it’s likely timed for early July as a last hurrah before the hurricane season begins—a way to ward off dark forces with fun, song, and dance.

These dark forces, we know, are exacerbated by humanity’s reckless consumption of natural resources and following climate change. The Caribbean Islands bear the brunt of these mistakes of humanity, yet they face it all with optimism and resilience. Filming the colorful carnival parade, I was moved by this invincible spirit. Even though some participants might have been worried about their homes, the sheer joy and determination of everyone—from the young to the elderly, enduring the 30-degree heat—was inspiring. In the photographs you can see the parade participants holding azure cups – the slogan was: no plastic water bottles! Perfectly organized “watering holes” on mobile platforms made it possible to constantly refill these cups. You can also see small fans in your hands to cool your face. But I still admire their endurance!

I believe they will rebuild their homes, restore their embankments, build new boats, plant new trees, and start anew. Let this post-hurricane carnival be a catalyst for future changes—how wonderful that it was so carnival-like!

Love to the Caribbean!