Caribbean Carnival

Caribbean Carnival is a recognition and celebration of the many cultures across the 13 nations and 700 islands of the Caribbean. These events center Caribbean students throughout planning and execution, while introducing the larger Dartmouth community to the food, music, and movement of Caribbean culture through social connection. 


Carnival, Carnivale, Junkanoo, Spice Mas, Cropover, Festival, Mardi Gras, or Bacchanal. Across the Caribbean, Carnival is planned and celebrated in many places, in many different ways, and for many different reasons. 

Some folks from all over the world say goodbye to winter and welcome spring, having fun throughout the celebrations with amazing food, lively parades, colorful costumes to embrace the spring and exit out of the winter blues. For folks, especially in the West Indies, Carnival is a festival in celebration of freedom, honoring the monumental historical and cultural moments of the Caribbean. 

In short, the objectives of Caribbean Carnival at Dartmouth are to:

  • Provide space for the Caribbean community to reconnect across shared cultural experiences, as well as learning about experiences different from their own
  • Create an opportunity for students to ideate, plan, execute, and debrief campus events for the first time
  • Highlight marginalized and underrepresented stories within the community, such as Afro-Latinx people, and non-Spanish speaking cultures.

Caribbean Carnival at Dartmouth: Education, Community and Advocacy

Over the years, the energy of Carnival has shown up in different ways on campus. In planning and coordinating events, students have had  stages built on Mass Row to showcase their dances and their mas. Other years, students gathered in and out of the Shabazz Center to listen to steelpan music, create carnival-themed swag, and relish authentic Caribbean foods. Carnival has provided a space to invite folks from near and far to perform and provide workshops centered around Caribbean culture. This event has been primarily student-led over the years, and the Dartmouth Caribbean Connection deserves much of the credit for getting this tradition up and running. 

As the event became bigger, students requested support from OPAL so the event could remain student-led while continuing to grow in size and scope. Some of this transition occurred during the pandemic, so there were some creative virtual events, as well. Currently, OPAL provides program management and administrative support, compensation for student leaders, and access to institutional resources while the majority of the decision-making stays within student leadership control.