It's hard to explain to my parents why I come to this thing each year, and spend all time in the hot sun, doing all sorts of things that many people say one just "SHOULD NOT DO!"
If it weren't so good, I would agree with the majority, and not do them.
As I say to Jamaicans who remind me that I "SHOULD NOT DO IT" -- "come try it nuh?" The truth is that we don't really have Carnival in Jamaica, we have elements that we have copied from Trinidad, and the truth is that we have copied only the most obvious, showy and recent pieces: small costumes, wining, drinking, jumping and waving, etc.
In Trinidad, Carnival means much more than that, viz:
- Calypsonians singing in tents and saying things that would get them shot in Jamaica
- Old Mas, which includes men wearing wigs, nighties and bras, carrying signs with jokes written on placards
- Jouvert covered in mud, red, paint, blue paint, cocoa, black paint plus other stuff I'm not sure I want to know about
- pan, pan and more pan... and of course, panorama
- sailor mas -- played in elaborate sailor costumes
- Indian mas -- played in Indian dress with huge head pieces
- "fabric bands" -- with plenty clothing on
An executive said to me, that if weren't for Carnival tis country would have serious social problems.
I extrapolated that to mean that because we don't have a widespread Carnival in Jamaica, we experience social problems as there is no equivalent opportunity to "let off steam." I'm starting to think that we have lots of unproductive ways of "letting off steam" in the form of too many protests, violence and murders.
It's a fact that over 90% of our murders are committed against people that are known to the killer, and most have to do with reprisal.
Trinidadians have traditionally known how to convert psychic and social pressure into a joke, a calypso, a lime, a drink, a game, a wine and a smile.
We Jamaicans probably have something to learn here.