This is a draft version of a paper that was given at the Trinity College conference on Carnival in late September 1998. It is not for direct quotation. Comments are welcomed. © Donald R. Hill


Dr. Donald R. Hill,

Professor of Anthropology and Chair,

Africana/Latino Studies

SUNY College at Oneonta, New York 13820

      1. hilldr@

© Donald R. Hill


This is a blow by blow account of Carnival in Carriacou, Grenada in 1971 as I witnessed and documented it. I will describe the traditional Carnival of the island first and next show the post 1950s ideas brought from Trinidad in the heads of Carriacouans returning from work on the larger island. Most of the paper focuses on the traditional Carnival in Carriacou, how that Carnival helps to give the island its distinctive identity, and how Carriacou bends Trinidadian style Carnival to its own purposes.

Carriacou, two and a half miles wide and seven and a half miles long, is part of the island nation of Grenada and is 120 miles north of Trinidad and the coast of Venezuela.



In the early 1970s i ts population was about 6000. Its culture is creole, with roots in West Africa, the Congo, France and Britain. Its first colonial overlord was France: its last was Britain. Together with bigger Grenada and smaller Petit Martinique, it became an independent country in 1974. Since then the three island nation has undergone difficult economic and political times and has been under strong economic influence from Trinidad, Canada and Cuba (terminated in the early 1980s) and political influence from the Unite d States.

Traditional Carnival in Carriacou consisted of a Sunday evening feast in many people's homes in certain villages (the "Canboulay"), followed by stick fighting near those villages. Then there was the early Monday morning or "Juvay" Carnival (masquerading by individuals and small groups scattered about the island). The major event of traditional Carnival - speech mas - occurred on Shrove Tuesday.

Sunday night before Carnival, families prepared food in their yards for the Canboula y dinner. This event was a family feast. There is probably a connection between Trinidadís nineteenth century cannes brul¾ es and Carriacouís feasting. In Trinidad, enslaved people gathered to put out cane fires (cannes brul¾ es). Later, on August 1, the anniversary of Emancipation Day, former slaves celebrated their freedom by staging a "Canboulay" procession with torches to mimic cannes brul¾ es. In Trinidad, the Canboulay came to be associated with Carnival and stick fighting. In Carriacou, Canboulay consisted of family feasts followed by stick fighting until "foredaymorning," the hours before day break.

Early Monday morning, after midnight mas at the Catholic and Anglican churches, a dance was held at the Hillsborough school. Modern Carnival began immediately after the dance, at about 5:00 A.M. with a road march through the streets of Hillsb orough.

Meanwhile, at the same time the "modern" dance was going on, stick fighting began, accompanied by drum music. The "Big Drum" is a configuration of three drums. It is central to every island ritual involving propitiation to the ancestors. However, the Big Drum can also be played for a "good time" such as stick fighting. According a La Resource village resident,

...the casual Big Drum dance is held annually in the cross road La Resource junction. They play stick while the drum beat. At that session some of the most hottest Big Drum songs are played. During this time most of the boys [are present] who expect to play mas Tuesday morning. Most of the dangerous mas players will jump into the ring saying, "Who not my friend don't come in the ring." At that time only your best friend might be spared (Brindley Dick, personal communication).




P laying at stick in Hillsborough, 1971

Stick fighting, once more widespread in Carriacou, was confined to two adjoining ridge communities, Mt. Desire and La Resource. Some of the songs for battle, or "kalindas,"

were borrowed from Trinidad ("Trinidad" kalinda) but the older stick fighting tunes ("man" kalinda) seem to have originated in the Grenadines. According to Andrew Pearse (1956a, p.4), "The word Kalenda has existed for a lo ng time in the New World and has been applied to several different dances. The rhythm of the old Kalendas of the Windwards have been taken over for stick fighting in Trinidad, and carries the name Kalenda."

This is a man kalinda:

Mama Liza Canboulay!

Hey! Liza!

Mama Liza Canboulay!


This is a Trinidadian kalinda, as played in Carriacou:

Mooma, mooma

Ah there in the jail already;

So take a towel

And b and your belly

(Mother, mother

They put me in jail for stick fighting

Grieve for me as if I were dead)

About the last song Brindley Dick hyperbolates: "When a man says that, during the time he is in the ring, he can kill any man he was troubled with."

In Carriacou, a conch shell is blown to call the drummers and the "batonniers" together. Although there are many ways to play stick a common position is to hold it above the face defensively in both ha nds and let it go from either hand to give a lash to an opponent. Normally two men fight at a time, the object being to give good blows to the opponent, to artistically "dance" into the various positions while making the opponent look foolish, and to sing well. At its most aggressive moments it can be very dangerous and gashes are opened on the head or chest of combatants. Playing stick is a serious art, as Alvin Cummings, a Carriacouan who played stick in Trinidad, testifies (personal communication):

It is beautiful as well as serious. . . coming at Carnival time, when guys meet in the ring and drums start beating - you really don't have no brother there; no, no.

Who wins? The best stick man. You knock me down you get to remain. Sometimes you knock me down and you get on better than me and still I could play with you and not knock you down but cut you up with this very stick, not with knife. You see, it's very good to see them. With the stick one village is coming to me et the next. Well, you gotta defend your village and the next guy is coming to defend his village in your village.

[One time] I was in front of a guy called Ramatar, a Chiney fellow [in Chaguanas, Trinidad]. He's hard as pepper. Well, I really didn't want to play stick with them kind of guy [but] I had to go into the ring. Three of us came in there and I got this [points to a scar on his face]. The first cock he made at me I made at him. Both of us is two left handers. Second cross I made at him. All was trickling for blood and the sergeant and three constables come and stop the drum beating. He said, "Well, it's too furious, it's no good."

At Carriacou's 1971 Carnival the stick fighting was over by 5:30 A.M. Participants and observers either went home for some sleep or walked to town where the "Juvay" celebrations were beginning.

At that time many people were out on the streets in "old mas" costumes. Old mas is a generic name for a variety of impro vised, topical costumes conceived by the individuals who wear them (as opposed to mas band costumes which are planned by the person in charge of the village mas). It may be that the name was borrowed from Trinidad but many of the costumes and routines are traditional to Carriacou. One masque, worn by a child, was made of a an old white bed sheet that covered all of his body, except for his face. This boy wandered about the island carrying a spider hidden in a box. For a penny the kid would show you the spider, who he said was BíNancy, the mythical spider whose ancestor was the Akan trickster spider and who lends his name to a cycle of folktales. There was also djab djab, two or three men blackened with charcoal and chained to each other.

Brindley Dick related this (personal communication):

The person is pretending that he is the devil beating his son to ask for money to pay for his freedom. The man in chain is bawling, "Ah want the penny to pay the devil." Many p eople pay them because they are afraid of them thinking that when these djab djab keep following them they will dirty their clothes.

Djab djab wears a pair of horns. He roams the streets intimidating passersby, talking gibberish or saying outlandish things: "Yes Pa, oh Pa, throw me against the wall. I am djab djab. I work in the field. The chains help bury mama. Holy Mary, Mother of Grace! (Dick, personal communication)." Other djab djab gang about in groups of three or four, b eat on biscuit tins, and sing strange songs.

Djab Djab and his sons confront another masquerader in Hillsborough, Carriacou, 1971

Meanwhile, other traditional masqueraders stick pillows over their bellies to "look as pregnant." One carried a dismembered black and white doll. One man, said to be a scamp the rest of the year, dressed with a turned-around collar and a black suit. He carried a Bible upside down from which he read in well-modulated, sing-song tones. One of the favorite old mas costumes was the "Wild Indian Mas" in which five or six young men dress in red grass skirts and in Carriacou, a head dress shaped roughly like a sloop. They dance up the street in serpentine fashion.

Four Wild Indians with sloop shaped hats confront a cross-dressed masquerader, Juvay in Hillsborough, 1971

Some of the old mas creations may have been new in 1971 while others may go back in Carriacou many years. Some may have been brought from Trinidad and some brought to Trinidad by Carriacouans, legendary argonauts of the Spanish Main.

In some years (but not in 1971) there were several different types of musical or dance groups that perform on juvay, especially string bands with or without a ba or the bamboo tamboo. The maypole dance, once a common sight at Carnivals, was also rare in 1971.< /P>





String band from Union Island enjoying Carriacouís August Regatta. Home made instruments including a metal pipe ba, 1978

The activities of juvay, then, center on the absurd, the novel or on reversals of the usual order of things. By doing these things Carriacouans are made to think about their society - that is, one cannot laugh at a scamp ca rrying a Bible unless one knows he is a scamp. Thus, Carnival is liminal to a great degree - it is a gap in the social order which is at once a means of forgetting the humdrum of the rest of the year and glorifying it.

Paywo in Carriacou, 1971 (Beck)

Pierrot in Trinidad, 1959 (E. Hill)

The big event on Shrove Tuesday in the "pre-modern Trinidad" style Carnival is the "speech mas." It consists of several different masquerade characters. Speechifying by wordsmiths who wear masques have rough equivalents elsewhere in the Caribbean: the "shortnee" and "pierrot" of Grenada; the "pierrot Grenade" (Grenada) of Trinidad; the "John Canoe" of Jamaica the Bahamas, British Honduras, and the southern United States; certain masquerades in Guyana, Nevis, St. Kitts, and the Dominican Republic (played by immigrants from the English speaking islands); and the "speech bands" of Tobago all share "family resemblances" with Carriacou's speech mas. Fife and drum bands, though absent in Carriacou, seem to accompany similar masquerades elsewhere in the "greater" Caribbean basin (from the southern United States to Guyana). Finally, the outfit that some stick fighters wore in Trinidad is related to this complex of masquerades.

In Carriacou, speech mas consisted of several different masquerade characters. New costumes were sewn or last year's was fixed up before Carnival. One costume consisted of a shirt covered with brightly colored triangles of cloth, a wire mesh mask, a heavy black cape made of burlap, heavy boots normally used for working in the fields, and a whip made from a bullís pistol or wire wrapped with plastic.

While the costumes were being prepared in the months before Carnival, paywos practiced their speeches. Many were broad adaptations based on Shakespeare's Julius Caesar ("Friends, Romans, countrymen, and lovers . . . "). "Brainy fellows" would memorize passages from history books, particularly those concerning William the Conqueror. There were a few locally composed speeches as well. The theme of all the recitations, whether taken from books or tradition, is masculine, youthful prowess - skill with words and physical deeds, an ideal state where physical strength and mental agility are one.

One local speech concerns a playerís costume and his skill in fending off an opponent:

Ladies pred om gentlemen predomical

When I use the phrase "ladies and gents"

I do not mean nothing to offend you.

I just mean "Good morning to the ladies predom and gentlemen predomical."

How do you admire my garment this morning?

My garment is shining like a morning star!

I has this bull in me hand which is made of chicken bark.

I has this bell in me hand which rings the gate of Hell!

I has this shoe on me foot which is made of engine tire!

I has me job, Willie Boy:

If I should drop this bull upon your back, it tears

clothes from skin

skin from flesh

flesh from bone

And leave you a standing skeleton.

Weeks before Carnival, in the early evening hours speakers dressed in mufti practiced along the roadside in some of the villages. They recited speeches to one another and at times, used the bull (whip) and practiced battle moves. As one masquerader told me: "One uses the most hateful words in his vocabulary" in speeches hurled at opponents. Formerly such practice sessions took place throughout the island but in 1971 they were restricted to Brunswick, La Resource, and Six Roads.

Speeches were delivered in a stylized manner. The right foot is brought forward and stamped on the ground as the speech is shouted in short, explosive phrases. A good masquerade player memorizes twenty or more speeches, so informants told me. If he has backers they might yell "brave" at the e nd of each phrase. A short speech by a paywo (pierrot), assisted by his backers, might go like this:

"Look at me" (paywo)

"Brave!" (backers)

I am up in the air!" (paywo)

"Brave!" (backers)

"See I let go both hand!" (paywo)

"Brave!" (backers)

"But yet I cannot fall!" (paywo)

"Brave!" (backers)

Ideally, king, peacemaker, paywo Ė Carriacouan Creole for pierrot - and other costumed players are selected from ea ch of the villages. One is selected as king for creating the best combination of delivery, number of speeches memorized and, most importantly, strength and skill in fighting with the whip. Normally the same man becomes village king year after year. The peacemaker and the paywo also repeat their roles for many years. Practice for all masqueraders comes to an end the week before Carnival.

1971 Speech Mas in La Resource: battling paywos, their backers, and peacemakers, 1971

Carnival (Shrove) Tuesday is the big day for the speech mas in some of the villages. In 1971 the activity took place in Top Hill, Six Roads, Hillsborough, and most of all, at La Resource. At about 7:00 A.M. groups of mas players from Belvedere, Belair, and Top Hill met at Top Hill to "play mas." Meanwhile, down from Mt. Desire, one of the ridge communities on the island, groups of players in full costume , charged into La Resource, shouting speeches and yelling all the way down the hillside. At La Resource this group, combined with youths from La Resource, met to play mas against the combined group coming from Top Hill. They fought at the "cross" (crossroads) for approximately one hour. While elders from the villages refereed, pairs of masqueraders confronted one another. They recited their speeches, struck each other with their whips, and wrestled. When the fighting became too fierce a peacemaker woul d step in and separate the combatants. Occasionally it would take two or three men to pull the players apart. Sometimes a paywo would become so excited he would tremble, fall to his knees moaning or reciting a speech to no one in particular. One or two women joined the battle by seizing a whip from one of the elders who was trying to separate a pair of opponents. These women also struck the masquerader on the back and about the arms and legs. They also had to be pulled away by the peacemaker (not the m asquerader with that name but one of the elders who were also called peacemakers). At this point the speeches were of secondary importance; as often as not the combatants would dispense with their recitation to devote their full energies to battle.

The village king, peacemakers, and other masqueraders are assisted by "backers." These men and women offer their players moral, verbal, and physical support. A village king is much more effective in combat if he has twenty or thirty people standing wit h him when he meets an opponent. Once the player is exhausted, the fighting eases and the former combatants join and march on to the next village and the next battle. For La Resource, the next village is Six Roads.

By the time young men from ridge communities of Top Hill and La Resource had joined together and headed to Six Roads they found that the consortia from L'Esterre, Harvey Vale, Belmont, and Belle Vue South was already there, having battled and nucleated. When the ridge communities arriv ed the two aggregates fought some forty five minutes. Eventually all these players gathered into one massive group.

Just as villages from the south of the island fought and synthesized so did villages from the north, at least so it was once upon a time. In those days masqueraders from the southern part of the island were called Band Royal, or in "Patois" (French Creole), Banroy. They met the northern group, the Heroes, in Hillsborough's market square at about 11:00 A.M. When I witnes sed the fray in 1971 there were paywos in Hillsborough but they did not seem to be neatly divided into Banroy and Heroes. Rather, the Banroy and a few Heroes ran into town at top speed while shouting their speeches. Many were close to exhaustion.

In the old days, when Christine David's father was a village king, it was "bacchanal" in Hillsborough:

Women played a great part in the battles which existed between the two parties. At one Carnival, while the men were e ngaged in battle at the front street women were occupied in accumulating stones and boiling water in kerosene tins at the back street [and] with these destructive weapons they attacked the Banroys (Unpublished manuscript).

Normally the regulation of the fighting in Hillsborough was usurped from the village peacemakers by the police. That is, traditional village authority gave way to colonial authority. Again, we return to Davidís description:

The fighting wa s controlled by policemen. The policemen signaled the beginnings and endings of battle. The battle [was] preceded by a revelation of literature from heroes and Banroys. The literature was recited alternately. The paywos was kept apart from one another by adhering to a boundary outlined by the police. They used their sticks mainly, but head and feet were also used as defense in serious battle" (David, unpublished manuscript).

In 1972, when I was in Trinidad, the Carriacouan spee ch mas returned to its former glory (anonymous, personal communication). Carnival took place immediately before the General Election in which Premier Gairy won a new term in office, one which made him the first Premier of the new Associated State of Grenada, Carriacou, and Petit Martinique. The Premier's government was not popular in Carriacou and the tensions of the election affected Carnival activities, especially the modern Trinidadian style Carnival; that is, Carnival was subdued except for speech mas. When the paywo mas took place on Shrove Tuesday there was a battle between the police and players on Fort Hill above Hillsborough. A few people were hurt and a few were arrested for disorderly conduct, just like in the "pagan" days that David thought were long gone.

Through the early 1970s Carriacou's society was subtly divided into a series of parallel institutions. The metropolitan society consisted of the state infrastructure while the folk society mirrored nearly every stat e institution with equivalent folk institutions. Politically the villagers tended to shun police, courts and government generally and vested informal social control in family heads, elders and moot courts. Furthermore Carriacouans participate in major Christian churches (especially Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism) and a folk religion at the same time (the Big Drum). The speech mas confrontation between police and the masqueraders illustrates this distinction between the metropolitan society and the fol k traditions.

The series of conflicts, resolutions and new conflicts through which a player passed represented a concrete dialectic. The struggle between individuals, villages, groups of villages and the structured antipathy between the northern and southern half of the island is resolved in the final paywo confrontation with the police, the representatives of metropolitan society. While the police - who are bored out of their minds most of the year - eventually "restored order," at times when the speech mas gets out of hand, the very act of a group of Hero and Banroy paywos uniting against the police is a symbolic triumph for the folk: that is, it represents their maintaining control over their own society and their distinctiveness from "foreigners" (anyone not born and raised in Carriacou).

The fact that the older elements of Carriacou's Carnival (the Canboulay, the kalinda, the Juvay morning masques and the Shrove Tuesday speech mas) uniquely define the islander's affective culture does not preclude their common cultural history with Trinidad. Carriacouan arts were brought to Trinidad by Carriacouans and Trinidadian arts were brought to Carriacou by some of those same Carriacouan migrants. This common history goes back to at least 1796 when the British fleet that took formal possession of Trinidad (from Spain) mustered in Carriacou before sailing into the Bocas of the Gulf of Paria and Port of Spain, to accomplish their mission (Charles Kingsley, At Last a Christmas in the West Indies , London: MacMillan & Co., Ltd, 1913, [1871], pp. 66-67).

Trinidad Style Carnival In Carriacou.

On top of older connections and mutual artistic interchange between Carriacou and Trinidad there was a newer influence coming to Carriacouan Carnival from Trinidad. This influence dates from the late 1950s and consists of larger masquerade bands, calypso and the steel band. I will now note how one man initiated changes in masquerading and steel band and then describe more fully the ef fects of his ideas on Carriacouís Carnival.

In the late 1930s and after World War II, Carnival in Trinidad underwent a great change with the introduction of the steel band, very large masquerade bands, and other organized activities. At the time there were many Carriacouans in Trinidad who, upon returning to Carriacou in the early 1950s, organized mas bands in the Belmont-Harvey Vale area of the island, an area where migration to Trinidad had been particularly heavy. These bands became a fixture i n the 1960s. Tyrel Frank of Belmont Village had lived in Trinidad, played pan and participated in mas camps. Back in Carriacou he introduced large theme oriented, historical masquerade bands. He taught fellow Carriacouans wire bending and how to cover a wire frame with papier-mâché to complete the costume. He also imported pans from Trinidad and brought in tuners periodically. Eventually, the Texaco company sponsored the Harvey Vale steel band. This sponsorship continued until 1969. One of Frank's bands participated in the 1967 Steel Band Panorama in St. George's (Grenada) and won a couple of awards.

The "Africa Ancient and Modern" mas band with the Solar Symphony Steel Orchestra, both of LíEsterre, 1971

Carnival preparations for these newer activities began soon after Christmas. In the week before Carnival there are dan ces as well as the finals for the Calypso King, Carnival Queen, and Queen of the Bands competitions. In the Queen of the Bands contest a few members in full costume, together with the queen, paraded on a stage set up in the Hillsborough school.

The two other bands participating in 1971 were the "Mexican Fiesta" band from Mt. Pleasant -they eventually pulled out of the competition, considering the judging unfair - and the "Africa Ancient and Modern" band from L'Esterre. There has been rivalry bet ween Belmont-Harvey Vale and L'Esterre in the past and it was very intense this year. One of Frank's steel bands had split into two with the L'Esterre members forming their own band. L'Esterre boys resented the fact that Harvey Vale usually won the Queen of the Band and the Carnival Queen competitions. They resented the fact that in 1970, the calypso crown was won by Harvey Vale's Mighty Scrapper. Harvey Vale, on the other hand, resented the fact that the Mighty Slimy, who was from L'Esterre, had won th e calypso competition in 1969 and 1971.

Trinidadian influences were apparent at the Carnival Queen show, held the Friday night before Carnival. The Queen contest was judged on much the same grounds as the calypso battle. The grace and ease with which the girl handles herself on stage inside the heavy costume was judged as well as the merits of the masquerade itself. My wife was asked to be a judge. Before the competition contestants, girls whom she did not know, became extra-friendly, asking if they could show her about the island or if there was anything else they could do for her (we had been living on Carriacou for nearly a year and knew our way around pretty well).

Early in the evening of the competition the crowd began to pack the school auditorium where the show was to take place. The ticket taker counted 570 people jammed into the 200 seat school room, most of them standing. By the show time (about 10:00 P.M.) EC $1,300 (US$650) had been taken in. At a dollar fifty per person t hat meant that about 866 people had paid and were in the building. Add to it another 34 people or so - the entertainers, ushers, and the usually free entrants - then maybe 900 people were crammed inside, about one in every six or seven people on the island.

The show was started by the combo on stage. They played Jamaican reggae, which was gaining popularity outside its motherland. Then several calypsonians sang. As the show progressed, each of the band queens paraded on stage twice. The winner was a girl from Harvey Vale-Belmont. Cheers and boos followed the announcement. The girl from L'Esterre came in second. More cheers and boos. Just after midnight the show was about over and people began to leave the school, a fight broke out between the drummer from L'Esterre and a young man in the audience from Harvey Vale. Panic ensued and the five or six hundred people still inside tried to get out of the door and through the windows but only a few trickled out the main entrance which was partially blocked by a table. A returned migrant from England, in Carriacou on holiday, grabbed the table and tossed it into a side room. He then controlled the flow of people jamming the exit by grabbing slow movers and, as with the table, unceremoniously dumped them into the side room. His heroic efforts, along with help from a few others, kept the entrance from being blocked with panicked people stacking on top of each other. He may have saved many lives. Eventually he and other old heads restored order and a s a result the most serious injuries were broken limbs (one guy broke his arm jumping out of a window).

The reaction to the judges' decision and the subsequent fight and panic illustrates the intrusion of traditional village rivalries into the new cultural forms of Carnival. Formerly, most of this inter-village conflict focused on speech mas, the highlight of old Carnival. Thus, Carriacou's traditional culture was being modified by returned migrants from Trinidad, but its social organization of th e island remained stable.

In 1971 the preliminaries for the calypso competition also took place at the Hillsborough school. Seven calypsonians were selected for the final competition which was held the Thursday before Carnival. At the finals, the Mighty Slimy was selected as the king.

The Mighty Scrapper, 1971


Others in the contest included the Mighty Hypocrite, the M ighty Gripper, the Mighty Princess, the Big Bamboo, Black Boy, and the winner of the 1970 competition, the Mighty Scrapper (Stephen Gaye). That year Scrapper won with this calypso:



Two years now I waiting

I get a letter me voucher coming (2)

Man I feel so glad

I send for two grip in Trinidad.

When I hear the blows,

Me voucher turned down in Barbados

England I want to go

I can't stay here no more

Send me voucher

Send me passport

Tell me what to do

I can't stay no more in Carriacou.

Man I feel so bad

So very, very sad.

Everybody leaving

Imagine how I feeling?

Who going Canada?

Also America?

But I can't understand

Why me voucher won't come this time.

The calypso finals cost EC$2 for adults, a very high price on an island where the per capita income was US$ 140 per year. Yet many people came to Hillsborough to cheer their village favorites. The king was chosen by a panel of judges, picked by the Carnival Committee for their expertise in calypso. They judged the lyrics of the calypsos, the tune and the calypsonianís "portrayal" (this may include a costume, a supporting chorus, and a short skit). When the winner was announced at about midnight, he was greeted by the audience with mixed cheers and boos. Some people complained that their favorite did not win because his songs were p olitical and the judging was government controlled, because one particular village dominated the judging or because their favorite's family did not get on well with the master-of-ceremonies of the show. In 1971, the crowd liked Black Boy who sang about the "Bobul Trade" (smuggling) and "Why Black Men Can't Go to the Moon." Supporters claimed he lost because smuggling was too sensitive a subject and because he brought up a racial theme in the other tune. Yet the winner, the Mighty Slimy, sang two politica l songs, both humorous attacks on the premier and the ruling Grenada Union Labour Party.

The Calypso King was usually a young man in his late teens or early twenties and came from any village on the island. He was given a cash award by some Hillsborough business men and a short vacation to a nearby island. Calypsonians complained that it was difficult to get the merchants to fulfill their promises: there may be no prizes at all or smaller prizes than originally promised. During Carnival the king sometimes road marched with the band from his community. He was allowed to claim his crown for the entire year. Otherwise, no special status accrued to a Calypso King.

On the Monday and Tuesday of Carnival the masquerade and steel bands road marched through Hillsborough. Each mas band consisted of up to 60 or 70 people who came from one group of villages. Each band had a theme, a queen, and, usually, a steel band for accompaniment. As they went down the street they were separated from other ma squeraders by a rope held by band members, which completely surrounds the group. When the dance at the Hillsborough school let out, people streamed onto the street and followed a steel band that played a tune to which someone had put these words:

Coco and coconut had a fight

Parrot come and asks' "What is that?"

Jacks give it one thump

And okru set it right inside.

The tune to this English and Patois song was played by the steel band for two hours continuously. As the band played people fell in along side or behind in the road march. By 7:00 A.M. all the organized masquerade bands were on the streets and their members were jumping-up to the sweet sounds of the pans, the while the traditional juvay mas played out all over the island. At about 10:00 A.M. many people, especially those involved in the fancy masquerade or steel bands, quit for a rest. Then, around noon time, there usually was a final competition between bands in the Sav annah, modeled after Trinidadís "Panorama." But because of intense feelings between Harvey Vale and L'Esterre, the Carnival committee decided not to have a band competition. Nevertheless, the bands gathered on the Savannah and road marched up and down while masqueraders exhibited their costumes to the people who had assembled.

On Shrove Tuesday, the final day of Carnival, the organized mas bands continued to road march throughout Hillsborough. The jump-up continued into the evening and night.


Even though there are historical connections between Caribbean Carnivals scholars, myself included, narrowly focus on one Carnival on one island. It is not that the connections between different Carnivals on different islands are not known. It is just that we prefer to focus on one island, one language, one special interest. In this, we mirror Caribbean society and Caribbean politics. The reality of politics in the region tends downplay connectedness and focus on se parateness.

Surely the early eighteenth century French estate owners maintained connections between the French colony that was Carriacou and a Spanish "Cedulaized" Trinidad that accepted many French planters into their midst. Surely there was a late nineteenth and early twentieth century British connection between the islands with a flow of estate management, labor, and British political control between them. If, in the 1970s, or perhaps even decades before that, there had been a giganti c West Indian federation (not the one that fell apart in the late 1950s but one including all Caribbean islands) and if all the people of the Caribbean were united into one powerful country, then we would see Carriacouís Carnival as a country cousin to Trinidadís Carnival. They would be subsets within the same society, as if they are part of the same cultural system. This wider view would allow us to see better the "family resemblances" between Carriacouís Carnival and Trinidadís Carnival. This is the approach Iíve tried to take here.