Group Title: CARIFESTA I - 1972
Title: The Colour of Carnival at Carifesta by Oliver Hunter
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 Material Information
Title: The Colour of Carnival at Carifesta by Oliver Hunter
Series Title: CARIFESTA I - 1972
Physical Description: Archival
Publication Date: 1972
Spatial Coverage: Guyana -- Georgetown
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00099686
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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Guyanats nearest Caribbean neighbour Trinidad and Tobago,

out of which has emerged the limbo, calypso and steelband, will be

presenting on the CAFIFE5TA stage a colourful heritage that began

many forgotten moons ago with the Caribs, Arawaks and Chayman Indians.

The spectacle of the Carnival bacchanal cannot be transported

from Trinidad and Tobago to the C''PIFESTA arena, but the spirit of
that frenzied cultural extravaganza which started in Spanish times and

absorbs the rhythms and movements of the African, Indian, Portuguese,

Chinese, Syrian and the English, will be brought by its peoples.

The Trinidad cultural scene is uniquely Caribbean in that the

sunny spirit of the people spill over into everything, even their re-

ligion and festivals.

The Trinidad cultural scene erupts in late summer during the

Hosein Festival-a religious festival in honour of two Moslem brothers
killed in a holy war.

Moslems of the Shiah sect keep this occasion with drum beating,

chanting and ceremonial pomp in Port-of-Spain.

But the Highlight of the Trinidad and Tobago cultural life is

the yearly Carnival in Port-of-Spain.

This gay "ffair tends to-send everyone "mad" as they laugh,

sing and dance with Lv ryone else, Carnival is celebrated on the Monday

and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, that is, except this year, and dates

back to the Spanish occupation of the Island.

The celebration starts with Ju-Vay (Jour Overt) when at 5.00

o'clock in the morning the dance h-lls pour their occupants into the

streets to be joined by thousands of other citizens jumping up and


These are dressed in raggy clothes and old costumes, depect-

in many themes.

/The centre of the celebrations tnkes place at the Independence

Square stand where a "King of the Ju-VIy" is crowned and prizes given

for the costumes.

Later in the day a real Carnival display and competition of

the bonds, cclyps'nimns and individuals including the crownin,- of

various Kings and Queens of the Carnival are done at the Queens Park

Savannah. The fete continues through the night.

- 2 -

On walking through the streets of PDrt-of-Spin or Scar-

borough one can breathe the richness of the peoples culture. It

erupts in the night clubs, on the beaches, in backyards, in the pan

yards, in the Shango ritualistic gatherings and spirit houses. It

is everywhere.

The particular genius of these people has found its expres-

sion in the calypso and steelband music. No one seems to be quite

sure as to the origin of the calypso although there is n consensus

of opinion that it is a blending of the African chantlike rhythms

and that of the French and Spanish peoples.

The rhythm is strongly African, the melodies, owe something

to Spain, while the lyrics, whitty, satiric-l, scandalous, show broad

African humour c-.rpened and polished by the French influence.

Calypso is not just for Carnival, it is a political and social

weapon of great importance in Trinidad.

This invention af the Trinidadin people is now sung all over

the world, but the highspot for calypso is at C-rnival time when the

Calypso singers complete against their fellows in the tents.

Every singer hopes th-t his composition will win him the


The stoolband is Trinidadian. Out of empty oil drums these

people have evolved a music that has gone all over the world carrying

with it the spirit of a cra-tive Caribbean people.

The Trinidadian speaking his Spanish Patois and his colourful

English comes sometimes as a man following Christianity, shango and

one of the many spirit churches.

He sometimes comes as a man of East Indian origin from the

southern foothills where he grows his vegetables and fruits, grazes his

heavy water 'uff:loes and spends many days in his flooded paddy fields.

The Trinidadian is also a man following the teachings of the

Bh-g-vct Ghita :nd Romayana 7nd he is involved in c mixture of religion

and culture.

Fecsts of Ramadan, Eid, Tadjahs, Diwoli go side by side with

Christmas and Corpus Christi and All Saints. Images of the Old

World Africa and Asia and Europe are still strong in Trinidad.

- 3 -

In India on the sacred night of the full moon of October,

Kartik-Nathan pil .rims travel to thu great sacred rivers of Ganges,

Jamuna and Trivena to bathe in the waters and cla-nso their souls for

o year.

In Trinidad the Hindu pilgrim travels to Manzanilla and the

Coroni River to 7crform this rite th-t his forefathers have practised

for thousands of years.

Shango in Trinidad on the other hand calls ancestral spirits

from Africa.

Images of Europe come out in their architectural designs.

The architecture of the houses bordering the Queen's Park Savannah

show a bit of the glory that was Trinidad's colonial past.

There one sees the fabled Gingerbread tonsions of the French

Second Empire and imposing structures ran,-ing in style from Victor-

ian to Romanesque Italian Renaissance, Moorish and Nouveau German.

Old Fort George on Port-of-Spain's Western periphery with

its Signal House, designed by Kofi Nti, an Ashonti prince who come

to Trinidad as a ward of tho British Government, also tolls of this

past and its architecture.

Trinidad named by the. original Arcwaks "Lere" The Land

of the Humming Bird along with Tobago brings to CARIFESTA the

essence of their kaleidoscopic ethnic population....Their participa-

tion brings the rhythms of its people expressing themselves in tclocric

and amusing ways from Hindu festival to sophisticated fine arts, from

the tantalising sounds of steelband to Shongo and c:lypso.

It carves out a bit of the awe of the Feast of St. Rose of

Lima when the descendants of the original Amerindians come from all

over the Island to walk in solemn procession on August 29 round the

parish church in Arimo which is dedicated to her.

It will capture the beauty and sadness of the Trinidad folk

legend which tells of a whole tribe of Chayma Indians. These indigen-

ous peoples,who believed that man was created from the Silk Cotton

trees said to have been swallowed up by the Pitch Lake at La Brea

as a punishment by the gods for having eaten humming birds contain-

ing the souls of their ancestors.

Trinidad at CARIFESTA can only be exciting, interesting and

educational or it would not be Trinidad.

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