Easter in Trinidad and Tobago

Posted: March 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

As a child, Easter was synonymous with many fun things—church, sea, kite-flying, fish, bobolees and hot cross buns. I remember my mother waking early on Good Friday morning and making hot cross buns for us, and my favourite was eating them hot with melted cheese inside.

Children take delight in beating the bobolee, a ritual in which an effigy of a maligned public figure is beaten. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH

Of course, attending the three-hour Station of the Cross service was mandatory in our home. The older I grew it was the more I fell asleep during this ritual, usually rudely awakened by my mother nudging me in my ribs. Also mandatory was watching the revolving slew of Biblical films that TTT, the only TV channel back then, screened every Easter weekend.

Notwithstanding not eating meat during Lent, we’d eagerly look forward to our final gourmet fish meal of this period of abstinence on Good Friday, usually king fish with gub gub or lima beans, always served with white rice, potato salad and pickled cucumbers. Lunch was always accompanied by wine or sherry.

For many, the Easter weekend commenced on Holy Thursday, with families heading out of town to camp at beaches nationwide. Despite the popular belief that you would be turned into a fish if you bathed in the sea on Good Friday, many of my friends ignored this myth, and none of them were transformed into some form of marine life.

For most Christians, Good Friday is traditionally a day of prayer and reflection on the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. For others it is one of the year’s most inactive days. This year is no different, except with Funworld 2013, complete with treasure hunt, water park activities, model car show, crab race, toddlers playworld and other attraction scheduled for today at Gulf City Mall, in Lowlands, Tobago. This evening, DC Shell Family Theatre is staging Rapunzel, at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s.

Good Friday was also the day for beating the bobolee, an effigy made in memory of Judas Iscariot, the villain in the betrayal of Christ. Over the years, bobolees have evolved, from being reincarnations of Judas to effigies of public figures the public is aggrieved with to celebrities who are wed, complete with ceremony and procession.

In timely fashion, in wake of commemorating the crucifixion of Christ, Baptists nationwide will celebrate Baptist Liberation Day tomorrow. It is a public holiday for many, but a working day for some, falling on a Saturday. Thousands of this faith will assemble in churches and cathedrals to give thanks for the evolution and liberation of their faith.

Kite-flying is a main ingredient on the Easter weekend with the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain being a major venue for this family outing. From early tomorrow morning one can expect the sky to be dotted with a wide assortment of kites, from simple, little chee-kee-chongs to huge, exotic mad bulls. As a boy, I fondly remember joining my young homeys in Laventille, like the Lequays, Battersbys, Victors and Brownes, huddled over kite-cutting paraphernala, like razor blades and ground bottles to make ‘zwill’ and ‘mange’, ‘weapons’ in any decent arsenal to cut kites out of the air.

Back in the day, making a kite was a skilfull art, from finding the right cocoyea to make the bow, to the right fabric to make a tail. I remember my father bringing home rolls of typewriter ribbon to make kite tails. Having grounded (crushed) the bottle and making a paste, it was tedious work to apply the mange to your bobeen of thread. Every bona fide kite-flyer developed a passionate affinity to his creation and a boy was truly heart broken anytime someone cut his kite to make it “aiyo.” My elder colleague Everald Gordon enlightened me this week, that the term ”aiyo” was inspired from our French and Spanish heritage; the words adieu and adios meaning “goodbye.” You literally said farewell to your cut when aiyo befell it.

Tomorrow, kite-flying will be popular in every community, including Point Fortin where my friend Shakeela has organised an Easter Family Day and Kite Flying Competition, at Back-Ah-Yard, Boodoo Street, on Warden Road.

Two big shows tomorrow evening are Reign the Concert, being staged by Southex at the Mayaro Recreation Ground, featuring popular chutney soca acts like Sally Sagram, Xtreme Andaz, Soca Elvis, Reshma Ramlal, and Melobugz; and, Trinity Jam Foundations’ Peace, Love & Music, at Club Prosperity, Upper Bournes Road, St James, and headlined by Culture Brown, KU-J, Jamelody, Isasha, and Queen Omega.

With Lent finished, it’s open licence to fete again and Yorke Inc has just what the doctor ordered. Widely regarded as the era that produced the best music, Yorke’s Classics of the 20th Century, scheduled for Pier 1, Chaguaramas, will mesmerise its patrons tomorrow night with the hits of the 70s, 80s and 90s. Some of the major disc jockeys of the era have been charged to deliver this music on the night, including King Int’l, Kabuki, Sensational Sammy, Mr Q and the Hitman Howie T.

Surprisingly, this holiday weekend seems bereft of live pan music. Fortunately, lovers of good pan music are promised their fill if they attend the 24th anniversary celebration of Smokey & Bunty as Liz Mc Kenzie said her headline act on Sunday night will be WITCO Desperadoes. The fun begin at 9 pm at Smokey & Bunty, located on Western Main Road, St James.

Easter Monday is another day of excursions and families heading to the beaches. What seems to be a good outing to attend is Space la Nouba’s Easter Monday Road Trip, from Space la Nouba, South Trunk Road, La Romaine to Ibiza Beach Resport, Mayaro. The convoy is scheduled to depart at 9 am.

Billed as the weekend’s biggest calypso concert, Calypso Lovers International stages Soca and Calypso Monarchs Celebrate on Monday, at 6.30 pm, at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya. Among the stars billed to perform are 2013 International Power Soca Monarch and Road March champion SuperBlue; 2013 National Calypso Monarch Pink Panther; the pride of Antigua Swallow; Black Stalin; Denyse Plummer; Scrunter; Explainer; Skatie; Johnny King; and, 2013 champion National Panorama arranger Len “Boogsie” Sharpe.

Source:Trinidadian Guardian

Careen Carlton

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