Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music
By Dara Healy -- Trinidad Express
There is an erroneous and misguided conversation which has been gaining momentum over the past few years regarding the Carnival of the people of Trinidad and Tobago. This conversation perpetuates centuries-old colonial and elitist perspectives of our celebration, it disconnects the people from this expression of themselves, and trivialises the labours of thousands of citizens over many months to create the very festival that is imitated all over the world. Further, this conversation which labels our Carnival a “distraction” displays ignorance of the spiritual, resistance and ritualistic underpinnings of the celebration. It is therefore time to articulate a more grounded philosophical perspective, and begin a new and accurate conversation.
To be clear, Carnival is not just a party.
Rooted in resistance against enslavement, the burning of the canes (fires most likely set by the enslaved) and the walk with flambeaux in the early hours to extinguish these fires, is one powerful symbol of freedom. It is also documented that the baring of breasts, bottoms, private parts and menstrual cloths was another act of defiance. In being deliberately vulgar and shocking, the barrack yard performers of the “Jamette Carnival” claimed the Carnival space for themselves and laughed at the indignation and hypocrisy of the upper classes, who they knew did not behave much better behind closed doors.
In 1881, stick-fighters and ordinary people of the depressed communities of Port of Spain and Laventille successfully beat the colonial administration and thwarted their plan to do away with the Carnival altogether. It is important to note that our Carnival was originally celebrated around Emancipation time in August, and had nothing to do with Lent and Easter. This change of date from August to February was imposed by the colonial administration as part of its efforts to control the revelry and the commentary of ordinary people.
Big tanks fuh postin dis article . It is very timely an educashunal . Factual revelashuns like dis boost my case , an struggle tuh FREE CARNIVAL from de Roman church calindah , dis foolishness of 2 days b4 eastah . I say foolish b-cause my research into dese church observashuns prove tuh me dat dey NEVAH HAPPEN . [ C de book "The Making of Christianity " by Rev. Walter Williams , as well as tons of odder books , documentaries ,etc , provin dis Byond any doubts . ] which is Y dey cyah set ah fix date . Dey celebrate astrological symbolisms wrapped in roman foolery , an have we , an odder colonized minds beleevin . So I say . . Take Karnival off dey calindah . Set fixed dates , my suggeshuns is de 2nd Monday an Tuesday in March . Y , well dis would give everybody , Panpeople , Masmakers , Kaisonians , Schools , Buiznesses an Everybody who involved wid WE Celebrashuns nuff time tuh properly prepare , organize , an make ah decent livin off We Biggest Festival. Troot , dey say , will set yuh free , an Karnival is de Biggest Freein up Festival evah . Dis Festival started in Kemet , [nka Egypt ] wen d Spiritual / Learning Centers , or Schools , would display dey respective Deities on richly decorated barges , called Floats , with Singin an Dancing participants , playin, Drums an odder Muzikal Instruments . The barges would "float ' dong the Nile River , wid thousands of spectators njoyin de parade , an doin dey own celebratin on de banks . Please do yuh own research . . . doe believe me or any body else . Prove , or find Troot fuh yuhself . den yuh wont b-leeve Anyting , yuh go NO fuh sure . . Specially Afrikan / Blac People , buh ALL people in general . So " FREE WE KARNIVAL " Join / Support de akshuns . . .