Mas Domnik


Mas Domnik tagged as ‘The Real Mas’, is the biggest cultural extravaganza in Dominica, which takes place every year.  It is a perfect blend of African and French cultures that is displayed in the most beautiful and colorful way. This mega multi-day cultural event comprises calypso music shows, pageants, street parades, colorful cultural activities, and much more. 

Revelers from all over the world rush to Dominica during this carnival and enjoy it to the core. If it has already swept you off your feet, let us tell you everything in detail about Mas Domnik. 

Origin of Mas Domnik

Mas Domnik is said to be one of the most original carnivals in the Caribbean. With this fact, you can assume how old it would be. Yes, it has been in existence for centuries. The carnival is estimated to have been celebrated for the first time in 1838 by a mass of slaves, who were set free.  They celebrated their freedom by rejoicing on the streets. Since then it has been in existence in Dominica. The way of celebration has evolved in modern times though.

How long and when does the Mas Domnik take place?

Mas Domnik is actually a two-day festival that starts on Monday right before Ash Wednesday. Given the fact, the dates for the festival can vary every year but the day will remain the same.

Mas Domnik traditions

As we already said that Mas Domnik is a traditional carnival of Dominica and showcases the rich culture and tradition of the island, it has certain traditions that are seen every year in the festival. Those are as follows:

  • Sensay, traditional dress

The word ‘Sensay’ comes from the Ghana language, which means chicken with ruffled feathers. In this carnival, Sensay means feather-like costumes that are made from the natural fibers of the sislana plant. The traditional costume of the carnival is made from these fibers. People wear this traditional costume covering the whole body in layers resembling a frizzle fowl. 

  • Bwa Bwa, traditional dance

Mas Domnik hasn’t only its traditional costume but has its own traditional dance as well and it is called Bwa Bwa. During the festival, you will see 12-foot-high stilt walkers wearing funky costumes & face masks and dancing to the tunes of calypso and soca music. These are called Bwa Bwa dancers. Without the pulsating dance of Bwa Bwa dancers, the festivity of Mas Domnik is incomplete.

  • Darkies/black devils 

Darkies or black devils are usually a group of people, who print themselves completely black and participate in the event in order to promote the African black culture. They perform African martial art dance using sticks and showcase the historical significance of darkies. However, recently they have stopped wearing all-black costumes, but they still do participate in the event and promote their culture.

  • Negre Mawon/ Runaway Slaves

This is another traditional celebration of the event in which runaway slaves are given a tribute by big music bands. They are shown wearing shackles and broken chains on their feet which signifies reclaiming their freedom. This event is celebrated in the carnival to honor the spirit of African warriors. 

  • Lapo Kabwit

Lapo Kabwit is a form of carnival music in Dominica that features drums. This carnival has a drumming tradition. The first thing you would hear at the beginning of the carnival is the drum beats of Lapo Kabwit, which signifies the beginning of the event. Big music bands take the centre stage and perform Lapo Kabwit in the Mas Domnik.

Mas Domnik 2023

This year, this mega-cultural event will take place on 20 (Monday) and 21st of February (Tuesday). However, the fetes and the pre-activities of the carnival will start taking place from the 14th of January itself.

Mas Domnik 2023 schedule

Although Mas Domnik is a 2-day long carnival, its fetes and activities will start taking place weeks before. Here, we are giving you the complete schedule of Mas Domnik 2023 starting from the pre-activities to the main event. Have a look at them.

  • Pre events:

Saturday, January 14 

  • Opening of Carnival

Friday, January 20

  •  Mas Camp Calypso Tent

Saturday, January 21

  •  Ole Mas Festival
  • Mahaut Village Carnival
  • Calypso Quarter-Final

Sunday, January 22 

  •  Portsmouth Town Carnival

Friday, January 27 

  •  Mas Camp Calypso Tent

Saturday, January 28 

  • Pan in the City
  • St. Joseph Village Carnival
  • Grandbay Village Carnival

Friday, February 3 

  •  FAAJÍ, AN AFROBEATS RAVE!
  • Junior Calypso Monarch
  • Mas Camp Calypso Tent

Saturday, February 4 

  • Marigot Village Carnival
  •  Calypso Semi-Final

Sunday, February 5 

  • Carnival Princess Show

Friday, February 10 

  • Stardom Royalty Night
  •  Dat is Kanaval
  •  Mas Camp Calypso Tent

Saturday, February 11

  •  Clash of Tent 2023
  •  Mother’s Queen Show
  • Soca Raff Up

Sunday, February 12 

  •  Wine Down
  • Miss Teen Dominica

Monday, February 13 

  •  Lagoon Street Jump Up

Tuesday, February 14

  •  DSC Mas Jamboree
  •  Bouyon Day

Thursday, February 16 

  • Mas Camp Calypso Tent
  • Reggae on the Boardwalk
  • Miss Dominica Pageant

Friday, February 17 

  •  Sunrise

Saturday, February 18 

  • Calypso Final
  • Stranded at The Beach, The Bikini Special
  • Viva la Carnival

Sunday, February 19 

  •  Opulence
  •  Pinknic
  •  Original Carnival Souse & Punch
  •  Kiddies Carnival
  •  Bouyon Monarch Competition
  •  Grand Bay Children’s Carnival
  • Main events

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20 

  • CARNIVAL MONDAY
  • 4AM: More Powder Jouvert Group ,Lumi-Nation, Triple kay band Jouvert
  • 10 AM: Traditional Monday, Mega Monday
  • 2 PM: T-Shirt Band, KluBirds, Triple kay mega Monday

TUESDAY,  FEBRUARY 21 

10 AM:

  • Advertisements
  • ADV
  • CARNIVAL TUESDAY
  • Costume Band
  • Hysteria Mas
  • Fantacy Tribe
  • Amnesia
  • Pulse Experience
  • Carnival Corner

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22  

  • TÉWÉ VAVAL

Other carnivals to attend in the Caribbean

When you are in the Caribbean, don’t restrict yourself just to Mas Domnik. There are many carnivals across the Caribbean that take place during this time, especially before Ash Wednesday. Here, we are mentioning a few of them. Make sure to attend them.

  • Aruba Torch Parade 2023, Aruba, in February
  • 2023 Trinidad Carnival, Trinidad, in February
  • Haitian Carnival, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in February 
  • Puerto Rico- Carnaval de Ponce, Puerto Rico, in February
  • Tobago Carnival, Tobago, in February
  • Saint-Martin Carnival, Saint-Martin, in February

The Caribbean is the home to some of the biggest and grandest carnivals in the world and Mas Domnik is one of them. So, attend this year’s Mas Domnik and give your eyes as well as soul a completely different and wholesome cultural experience.

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