Trinidad & Tobago Carnival is a celebration of life and a renewal of the psyche of the people through ritual.For many years the spiritual of the land have remained true to the origins of Trinbagonian Carnival and have found ways to include the sacred essence of Carnival/Masquerade into the street processions and presentations of the many Carnival band promotions at various levels of our society.
In earlier times throughout the African Diaspora located in the Caribbean, Africans have injected their memories of their ancient Masquerade festivals into their Carnivals. This can be seen in Grenada, St. Vincent,Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad& Tobago and even outside the Caribbean,Cuba and Brasil.
This safe keeping of the sacred traditions of the sacred aspect of the Carnival came to the streets many decades ago via the Dangbe Comme community commonly known as the Rada Community of Belmont.Chief Henry Antoine current leader of the Community in a recent presentation at Nalis during African History Month observed in Trinidad& Tobago in November gave accounts of the family’s influence and impact upon Mas portrayals and on the famous Bailey brothers.
In 2001 Egbe Onisin Eledumare, returned open participation by the spiritual community of African traditional spirituality to the streets of Trinidad & Tobago. This was considered controversial and by some out of place and even brought condemnation for this attempt by many African spiritual traditionalist and scholars who could not discern the relevance and spiritual connections of Trinbagonian Carnival and African originated spirituality.
Today,the position is different and still evolving.Many Orisa devotees and African traditional spiritualist, no longer have to battle with ” internal contradictions ” to be active participants in Trinbagonian Carnival.
As a direct follow up from the Mas presentation ” 401 Meets 2001 ” that Egbe Onisin Eledumare came tothe streets with, other Orisa organizations,shrine, awon kpaale and individuals have since openly associated themselves with various aspects of the Carnival traditions of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago.
Currently Chief Alagba Erinfolami – Esmond King and other members of the Eegun Society here in Trinidad take to the streets to perform rituals relevant to the Carnival activities of Trinidad & Tobago.
Anderson Patrick and other members of his kpaale Omo Oduduwa supported by other Orisa devotees including some from Egbe Onisin Eledumare are involved in the Black Indian band Warriors of Huracan.
In recent times members of the Orisa community won recognition of their ancestral masquerade portrayals during 2015 Carnival.
A perusal of names of Mas presentations and Names of performers would indicate that the African presence is alive and growing. Their were presentations like ” The SweetWaters of Africa “. Performers with names like Olatunji and Ife, and many other manifestations of the survival of the African connection.
This year Ile Isokan of Niles Trace,Febau Village will host their annual Egungun Festival on
SUNDAY 7TH FEBRUARY, 2016
Location : 8 Niles Street,Febeau Village
Time; 2.00 p.m.
Here is an opportunity to experience the origins of Trinbagonian Carnival.
All are invited.