jab molassie

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A man at a Trinidad and Tobago Carnival made up in a way similar to a jab molassie

Borrowed from Antillean Creole jab (devil) (from French diable (devil)) + molassie (molasses) (from French mélasse (molasses; treacle)).



jab molassie (plural jab molassie)

  1. (Trinidad and Tobago) A traditional character in the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival dressed as a devil, mostly naked and covered in molasses or grease and a colourful dye.
    • 1972, Errol Hill, The Trinidad Carnival: Mandate for a National Theatre, Austin, Tx.; London: University of Texas Press, →ISBN, page 109, column 1:
      A second masquerade character used in the play was the Jab Molassi, or molasses devil. At carnival he is the leaping, prancing masker, his body daubed with black or blue paint, sometimes with molasses, who threatens to besmear spectators unless they pay him off.
    • 1986, Américas, Washington, D.C.: Pan American Union, General Secretariat of the Organization of American States, ISSN 0379-0940, OCLC 436598505, page 43:
      For the past three years, his forces of evil and good have waged a pitched battle in a Carnival trilogy that concluded last year in Washington, D.C. There, whorish Madame Hiroshima, wearing a two-story, 3,000 ostrich-plumed mushroom cloud, and 60 jab molassie and tassa drummers led a parade of several hundred North American peace marchers on the 40th anniversary of the Japanese bombing.
    • 1987, Carnival in Trinidad, Port of Spain, Trinidad: Neal & Massy Group of Companies, OCLC 36875630, page 11:
      Taking [John] Milton's devils, angels and imps as conceived by a 17th century European imagination, he localised these characters with lines drawn from our indigenous mas, such as bats, jab molassie and demons.
    • 1994, Mary L. Gill, Presence, Identity and Meaning in the Trinidad Carnival: An Ethnography of Schooling and Festival (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation), Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin–Madison, OCLC 609350935, page 104:
      Images of devils, jab molasie, moko jumbies and bats are the figures that inhabit the Caribbean night. These dark fantasies are allowed free reign to bring into being darker, secret fears. The Carnival allows the opportunity for all these aspects of life to be given visual form.
    • 2004, Carlisle Chang, “Chinese in Trinidad Carnival”, in Mill Cozart Riggio, editor, Carnival: Culture in Action – The Trinidad Experience (Worlds of Performance), New York, N.Y.; Abingdon, Oxon.: Routledge, →ISBN, part I (Emancipation, Ethnicity, and Identity in Trinidad and Tobago Carnival – from the Nineteenth Century to the Present), page 86:
      From these hills at carnival time the traditional mummers descended into the city – Moko Jumbies on stilts, Warrahouns speaking Amerindian tongues, Pierrot Grenade in rags, Jab Jabs with whips, Jab-Molassi painted blue – moving to the beat of African drums or tambour-bamboo.
    • 2012, Ken Archer, “Play Mas: The Forging of a Caribbean Diaspora”, in Kamille Gentles-Peart and Maurice L. Hall, editors, Re-constructing Place and Space: Media, Culture, Discourse and the Constitution of Caribbean Diasporas, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, →ISBN, part II (Cultural Performances and Caribbean Identity), page 95:
      The visitor or participant on Empire Boulevard in Brooklyn comes upon jab molassie and devil bands and characters, "ole mas'" portrayals, and elements of Mardi Gras, all compressed into the space that is the J'ouvert. The ubiquitous jab molassie, of the J'ouvert of the Carnivals of the Caribbean, stamp their mark on celebrations in Brooklyn with their costumed portrayal, the rhythms that have traditional accompanied them, and their dance.

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