Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago, along with some other islands which still follow the traditional pre-Lenten calendar, will reach its climax over the upcoming weekend and the days leading up to the grand parade next Tuesday. T&T still sticks to the global schedule in which Carnival directly precedes the Christian Lenten season which begins next Wednesday with Ash Wednesday.
All Caribbean states used to observe this schedule but in the past half century or so, several countries have shifted their dates and instituted Carnival periods suited to their own specific circumstances. We here in SVG made the change in 1977 and following the same trend, neighbouring countries like Grenada and St. Lucia also made the change, to mid-year dates as well. However, Dominica still sticks to the original dates as do the “French” Caribbean territories of Martinique, Guadeloupe and Cayenne as well as Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
In typical fashion it is calypso and steel band which lead the way in the massive festival. The steel band movement in fact started their festivities since late last year and has already held successful competitions for several categories – Single Pan bands last December, Small Bands last month along with competitions for schools (primary and secondary) as well as Juniors (under 21 years).
On Sunday night just past it was the turn of Medium bands.
The governing body of pan has taken the bold step to move away from a Port of Spain location and to hold this competition in Tobago. It was won, for the second year in succession, by a Tobago band, Katzenjammers giving Tobago bands a clean sweep of the adult honours so far, bands from that island having won both the Single Pan and the Small Bands honours.
The big prize for pan however is this weekend’s Senior Panorama on Saturday night where all the traditional “big guns” will try to dethrone reigning Panorama champions Renegades and so prevent them from achieving a covetous hat-trick of victories.
One night later there will be the big Dimanche Grand show for the Calypso Monarch and King and Queen of Carnival competitions. The entry of Soca maestro Machel Montano into the calypso competition has stirred renewed interest in it. More on this in the weekend issue of SEARCHLIGHT this Friday.