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Showcasing the dynasty of traditional Carnival characters

Published: 
Monday, February 12, 2018

Attending the traditional mas parade at Victoria Square, and now Adam Smith Square, Woodbrook, over the years has always been a bittersweet experience for most regulars who attend this signal Carnival event.

While the beauty of the portrayals has remained, evolved even, it is mixed with the sad and sobering realisation that these characters and the people who continue to faithfully play them are dying off every year with no one to replace them. It was long ago that spectators saw a retinue of traditional Carnival characters that would extend the parade to way beyond midnight.

Last Wednesday night, when the NCC staged its traditional mas parade, the dozen fancy sailors of yesterday had now become three; the solitary Bookman died last year and has not been replaced; and, there were cow mas characters. In years gone by, there were so many portrayals in the authentic American Indian catergory you didn’t know where to begin shooting....with camera of course, not with guns like in infamous old West.

Wednesday night saw one minstrel, one bat, one pierrot grenade and one midnight robber, a frightening and tragic reality of what has become of the rich art of traditional mas portrayal.

An often-asked question is, “What makes T&T Carnival any different from the Carnivals in other Caribbean islands or other for that matter globally?”

One distinctive difference and trademark icon that makes T&T Carnival different is the traditional mas character and to lose this would certainly diminish the essence and spirit of our Carnival.

It is why we must cherish masqueraders like La Diablesse, Tracy Charleau Sankar and her son, and Pierror Grenade Felix Edinborough. The Woodbrook showcase of traditional mas gives visitors and the young and initiated an indigenous showcase that is in no uncertain terms ... Trini.

 

Story and photos by
EDISON BOODOOSINGH

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