is a large street party during Carnival in the eastern Caribbean region. J'ouvert is a contraction of the French jour ouvert
, or dawn
. J'ouvert is celebrated on many islands, including Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Lucia, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, Sint Maarten, Dominica, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. It is also a feature of New York City's West Indian Day Parade held on Labor Day, in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn and Notting Hill Carnival in London, both areas that have a large Caribbean ex-pat communities. The celebration involves calypso/soca bands and their followers dancing through the streets. The festival starts well before dawn and peaks a few hours after sunrise. Carnival was introduced to Trinidad by French settlers in 1783, a time of slavery. Banned from the masquerade balls of the French, the slaves would stage their own mini-carnivals in their backyards — using their own rituals and folklore, but also imitating and sometimes mocking their masters’ behavior at the masquerade balls.