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Originating during the colonial 19th century, the Jab Molassie is one of several varieties of devil mas played during the J'Ouvert morning Carnival celebrations in Trinidad & Tobago.
Jab is the French patois for 'Diable' (Devil), and Molassie is the French patois for 'Mélasse' (Molasses). The costume consists of short pants or pants cut off at the knee, a mask, horns and a pitchfork. In bygone days, the masquerader also smeared every inch of his body with black molasses as an act of defiance against colonial sugar plantation owners – as molasses is a valuable byproduct of sugar production, the devil was essentially robbing the plantation owners of their profits by covering his body with this viscid product. In modern Carnival however, the molasses has been replaced by the use of grease, tar, mud or colored dyes (red, green or blue).
Lefferts Garden, Brooklyn.
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