The Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Hon. Silveria Jacobs: The carnival season is upon us again. One of our largest and most flamboyant cultural traditions, Carnival brings a unique opportunity for St. Maarten’s creative and performance artists to display their many skills and talents and for its population to relax, have fun and enjoy the fruits thereof.
Over the years carnival has gone through many seasons of change. With each new generation the reveling, parades and shows have gotten bigger, bolder and have acquired an international flair. Carnival also serves to family and friends together during a time of fete and enjoyment. From all over the Caribbean and the world people travel to experience the magic that is unique to St. Maarten’s Carnival.
Designers and creative artists will spend countless hours conceptualizing ads, costumes, banners, backdrops, cultural outfits and floats, while seamstresses, craftsmen and -women will bring these designs to life. Musical and theatrical artists will compose witty and catchy lyrics, melodies and beats to awaken the nation or help them to "free up they self".
Crowds will gather together in the ‘Village’ to listen, laugh and cheer as the Calyspo gives voice to the thoughts of the people while the Roadmarch makes them want to jam. Young and old competing, going up for queen or vying for the title of Calyspo King or Roadmarch Queen. Talent, confidence and skills will be on display for all to see, experience and enjoy. Local and international talent showcased every night in the party that doesn’t stop for two weeks.
The smell of BBQ chicken and ribs and smoke rising to the sky; conch soup, whelk soup, oyster soup and goat water, Johnny cake, fry fish, grill fish, stew this and that, conch and dumpling … all foods that reflect our intangible cultural heritage.
Carnival 2013 will wind down to the Jouvert jump up and parades, when even the spectators form part of the scene. Some of these traditions have made our carnival famous and well loved. Many travel from near and far to celebrate with us. Today it is one of the grandest in the Caribbean, something we can all be proud of.
Contrary to popular belief carnival is not about being scantily clothed or displaying lewd and lascivious behavior. Rather, the season is about celebrating St. Maarten’s culture and enjoying the festivities with family and friends. Families are encouraged to take the time to spend with one another enjoying the many events designed for togetherness.
The celebrations have already started with pre-jump ups, and junior calypso and queen shows. Our teens and seniors have already displayed their skills, creativity and style in their cultural wear and speech competition.
I encourage my fellow St. Maarteners and visitors alike to get together, have fun, live, laugh and love, but to do so responsibly. Keep your children close, as this is not a time for a lack of parental control or supervision. Remember who you are, a proud citizen of St. Maarten. Let your actions reflect your true character. Alcohol affects our actions negatively when overdone, I implore you to drink responsibly and not to drink and drive.
In addition, this is not a time to ‘settle a score’ with someone or to disrespect one another. Let us continue to uphold our earned title as the ‘Friendly Island’. I thank our Police force, VKS and Security Officers who maintain safety, especially during this time.
This carnival season, I look forward to great entertainment, inspired creativity, enticing cuisine and all around togetherness and fun. I encourage all carnival lovers, spectators and participants to be safe and to enjoy the festivities responsibly.
Come Experience Life! Have a safe and enjoyable Carnival 2013!
PHOTO CUTLINE: Minister of Culture Hon. Silveria Jacobs