Monday, May 19, 2008

Vincy Mas - Then to Now

Here is a article from about Vincy Mas:

St Vincent Carnival or Vincy Mas can be traced as far back as the colonization of the island by the French in the late eighteenth century, who brought with them a Prelenten Festival called carnival, which when translated, literally means, ‘farewell to the flesh.’

Until the abolition of slavery, Carnival was a celebration of the ruling class and the privileged who on the four days preceding Ash Wednesday held their annual “Masked Balls” and dances.

However the freedom of the slaves played a pivotal role in its development as ex-slaves took to the streets, supplanting the French traditional carnival with traditional African style celebrations and customs.

By 1872, the colonial authorities in an effort to stamp out the festival, which was now of a more African nature, decided to ban the celebration.

In 1879, Vincentians decided that ban or no ban, Carnival would be celebrated and the colonial authorities utilised armed forces to uphold the ban.

However the people resisted, resulting in the Saint Vincent Carnival riots on February 11, 1879.

Apart from during the World Wars (1915-1918) and (1940-1945) the festival was an annual festival which continued to grow in popularity.

In 1973, Carnival became the responsibility of a Carnival Development Committee (CDC). In 1976 a decision was taken by the CDC (Carnival Development Committee) to change the date for carnival from February/March, where it clashed with other Caribbean carnivals including Trinidad and Tobago, to June/July, where it has been since.

Vincy Mas like other West Indian carnivals is a mixture of African culture, European traditions which brings together the entire population of St Vincent to celebrate Vincentian talent, artistry and craft including soca, steelpan music, calypso, and costumed masqueraders.

Vincy carnival is now considered more than just a cultural event but a major money earner for the country, which attracts thousands of tourists to the island, as well as overseas based Vincentians.

Highlights include The Miss Carival Show, a leading Caribbean beauty pageant; Mardi Gras Parade of the Bands, where bands compete for Band of the year title; the Soca Monarch Competition; the Dimanche Gras Show, which includes the finals of the National Calypso Monarch Competition, King and Queen of Carnival and Panorama.

The children are not left out as there are days and shows for them, including the Junior Carnival, Junior Calypso, Junior Soca Monarch and Junior Panorama. Known as Vincy Mas since 1977, this festival is certainly not one to be missed.

The 2008 Vincy Mas celebrations will take place from Friday 27, June to Tuesday 8, July 2008.

St Vincent Carnival 2008 Events & Dates

Official Launching – Saturday 3, May

Super Jamz – Saturday 17, May

Miss SVG – Saturday 31, May

Ragga Soca – Saturday 15, June

Fantastic Friday – Friday 27, June

Junior Carnival – Saturday 28, June

Soca Monarch Finals – Saturday 29, June

Mas on the Move – Monday 30, June

Junior Calypso/Soca – Tuesday 1, July

Glow – Wednesday 2, July

Junior Panorama –Thursday 3, July

Miss Carnival – Friday 4, July

Dimanche Gras – Sunday 6, July

J'Ouvert/Street Party – Monday 7, July

Mardi Gras – Tuesday 8, July


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