Today, the day before Ash Wednesday, in my beautiful, unique, cultural island of Trinidad and Tobago, is Carnival Tuesday. A celebration, not to be confused with any of the half-baked imitations, is a celebration of our freedom – freedom of the flesh, of the mind, body and soul. A celebration of our art forms, a celebration of our colour and splendour. A celebration that defines us whether we like to think so or not. A time when we take to the streets dressed in not very much, jamming to the sound of the sweetest soca music – a rhythm so infections it will leave you wanting more and MORE! A party that will convince you we invented party on this sweet island paradise. A party like no other you will experience in your life!
In the UK, the Queen’s country in which I choose to reside – today is Pancake Day. A celebration of well…eating pancakes!
And this folks, is that is wrong with the world!!
In preparation to repent for our sins on Ash Wednesday, on one side of the Atlantic Ocean, people are being lost in the euphoria of mas, soca, pan, kaiso, rum, woman, wine, jam, scandalous behaviour and one love. On the other side people are eating pancakes. How could this be? How is eating a pancake sufficiently sinful? Nah man! Take me back Trinidad, my world has gone mad!!
Now I’m not knocking England at all. I have grown to love this country on most days. She has born and bred four wonderful people I know – my sons, daughter and my husband so I am eternally grateful to her. BUT you see, because I come from a place where our idea of being sufficiently sinful equates to this festival known as carnival, I could never fit in to any other culture. I could never feel like I truly belong anywhere else. I could never relate to stuffing my face with pancakes on Carnival Tuesday! Pelau – yes. Corn soup – yes. Pancakes – WTF?!
At any other time of the year, I don’t miss Trinidad like this. I always miss my family who live there but not Trinidad itself. But how can I not crave a dip in the salt and sunshine during a season that has so heavily influenced who I am? It is a craving, a tabannca, that only a Trini could understand. It is this festival that single headedly has our navel string firmly attached to that place – I tell a lie?
Oh sweet Trinidad! Oh sweet carnival! Oh sweet soca, pan and kaiso. Oh sweet 1919 and coconut water. Oh sweet pelau. Oh sweet Machel, Kes and Kerwin. Oh sweet woman. Oh sweet bumpers! My home, how I miss you today.
This is us, this is what we live for, this is what it is all about, this is what only we could understand.
So raise yuh hand and lehgo, because today is the day we celebrate who we are, today we rejoice in what it truly means to be a Trini. We commemorate our history and show the world what makes us a people like no other because we belong to a rainbow nation and have created the most unique and infectious culture the world will ever know. Today we celebrate life and this is why we are the happiest people alive!
Bless up to everybody on the road today.
Play a mas, live your life and enjoy being a Trini because there is no other place we would rather be!
Be safe everyone! Drink a rum and call my name for me.
Sweet TnT ah love yuh bad!