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Few spectators for ‘ole time’ Mas

Saturday, March 1 2014

Children came from as far as Toco and Barrackpore to take part in the annual Traditional Mas Parade around the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain yesterday.

The parade which is usually routed through Port-of-Spain via Woodford Square was redirected, for the first time in years, along Queen’s Park West, ending at Carnival City in the Savannah.

Scores of children chipped along to rhythm sections, steelpan, tassa drums and tamboo bamboo, clad in traditional mas costumes such as the Bat, Wild Indian, Midnight Robber and Jab Jab.

The sight of the children playing Mas caused a slight congestion along the Savannah, but the children were more than happy to get the attention. At Carnival City, they were given the chance to cross in front the stage while parents and other spectators looked on.

It was revealed that the young masqueraders also helped to make their own costumes. They were also taught the dances of several Mas characters, such as the Drunken Sailor dance. Amar Deonarine, of Avocat Vedic School, Fyzabad, said his students designed and stencilled the costumes themselves and teachers did most of the cutting and sewing.

While the children made it a point to enjoy themselves, the route along with several other complaints were made about the adjustments made to the traditional Carnival Friday parade.

The late start was one of the major complaints of the revellers, particularly from the schools that came from great distances to partake in the parade. The Newsday understands that while teachers and students were present and ready to begin from 9 am, the procession did not begin until closer to 11 am, to the dismay of the children. There were no refreshments along the route, which made the long walk around the Savannah in the midday sun that much more arduous. When the children reached Carnival City, there was barely any place to sit or change. Some bands complained they had to wait too long to get on the stage, and they had too little time on Stage Other bands did not even get the right banners for their schools.

Of all the complaints made by teachers and children the most common was the route. Teachers and children preferred the route, along Frederick Street, through downtown Port-of-Spain as they could see workers leaving their jobs just to see them play mas.

The Savannah, on the other hand had fewer people to witness the traditional mas bands in all their glory.

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