“Blue a colour or pigment 3 Canal making a statement” It’s amazing just how much age, time and experience could conjure a different perspective about people, places and things.
3 Canal did not tell a lie in their song “Blue” such a profound colour, immersed in mystery yet bringing an element of excitement fuh so! Almost the calm after a storm, well that is how I would have described my Carnival Monday mid day experience at age 6 on Pembroke Street in Port of Spain.
Music blasting throughout the streets, people seemed happy like it was the time to embrace freedom, an escape from the daily run of the mill. Mac Williams band passed, masqueraders chipped through the streets after which it became a bit empty.
Then I heard a thumping sound in the distance, I saw a group of blue people approaching closer beating on Crix biscuit tin with thin sticks being utilize as a drum. Now the (blue) crew got closer, so did my nightmare begin what appeared to be devils drank a liquid substance then fire was spewed into the air.
Oh gosh I ran behind my grandmother they were scary looking, but strange enough she was laughing, how could this be, these hideous creatures were taunting me as blood oozed from their mouth! Crazy sight to behold!
Help meh (lol), the whole street could be seen laughing people running protecting their skin and costumes, whilst some other persons jumped to the rhythm of the drum. This flashback certainly brings truck loads of laughter, as a child it’s so easy to analyse situations at face value scary stuff indeed. I did not fully comprehend the cultural importance of having Blue Devils in our Carnival traditions and the role they fulfilled.
Today much older I understand the significance of ‘blue devils’ in our Carnival culture their origination came from Jouvert aka (‘Dutty Mas’). In summary, the spoken philosophy by some older folks, is Africans were freed from slavery after which they celebrated non –stop for two days.
Freed slaves did not possess anything, however jovial and creative they covered themselves with mud, molasses, ash and of course blue paint dressed up as devils mocking their enslavers.
In my opinion Jouvert removed the societal limitations of an era of slavery, allowing everyone regardless of status quo to be identified as one. The mud, paint could be perceived as temporary measures submerging reality from ‘dusk till dawn’ now that is ‘baccahnal’.
By Nicole Fisher