...Reflection of rich cultures
The annual event that is known as Tobago Heritage Festival can be described as a celebration that serves to revel in the rich culture, traditions and culinary arts of the Tobagonian people.
Unlike their Trinidadian counterparts where the annual carnival celebration shows cases their cultural diversity, Heritage Festival is a community based event, primarily focused on highlighting the cultural nuances of the various communities that form the geographical landscape of the sister isle Tobago.
In an era where traditions and cultural ethics that have been passed on from generation to generation for centuries, is seemingly very difficult to translate to the younger generation mainly because of the influential messages that come from the main stream media, the Heritage festival serves as a pivotal platform where the elder village folk pass on their practised traditions through folk singing, dancing and feasting.
Traditional costumes are used throughout the festival to bring to life and re-enact the village life that started from as early as the 1900’s.
Events such as old time mas, old time dance, old time wedding, limbo and not forgetting to mention jig or stick fighting, are some of the outmoded proceedings that serve to remind us of where our past began, and ensure that the rich cultural heritage acts as a cornerstone for the younger generation as they progressively move towards the future.
“Another baptism of fire is how I describe my introduction to this Heritage season” these sentiments were expressed by the Secretary of Community Development and Culture Dr Denise Tsoi-a-fatt-Angus.
The official launch of the Heritage Festival takes place on Friday, and is centred on a theme that can be defined as Community Treasures. This theme consists of a trilogy where part one, which is being held this year, is appropriately entitled REFLECTIONS; the unearthing of forgotten, stories and cultural traditions from the past are the main mandates to which this year’s theme is based on.
The heritage committee spearheaded by Victoria Mitchell alongside the Heritage committee chairman Mr Wendell Berkley and the coordinator Elvis Radgman have been entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that the opening night is mind-blowing and out of epic proportions.
This Heritage Festival will be none like before as the Board of the Commission has been given the authority to turn the seasonal experience that is known as the Tobago Heritage Festival into a year long occurrence, where visitors, tourists and other interested parties can enjoy the cultural multiplicity that Tobago has to offer.
In an effort to ensure that this year’s proceedings maximises the mandate that was laid out by the Tobago House of Assembly, several pre-opening night activities have been added to the calendar of events such as, the Calypso Tent partnered with the Fish Friday evening on the Esplanade, children celebrating with the elders of the various communities and there is an art exhibition launch in collaboration with the group SAMCA, this activity serves to promote and depict village life and present artifacts for those who are visiting the museum. The Heritage Queens have launched an initiative known as “Back to Basics”, where emphasis is placed on their creativity and innovation around recyclables.
For the passionate Heritage lovers Belle Festival is carded for the end of August, Folk Fiesta is being held on the Saturday night of the Blue Food Festival and the Heritage Youth Explosion is scheduled for August in collaboration with Great Fete.
Come one come all let us celebrate Tobago.