Friday, February 8, 2013
STREET MAS, PORT OF SPAIN, 1896
In 1887, J.H Collens described the unrest of the Carnival of 1881 thus:
The Canboulay Riots only served to heighten the fever pitch of Carnival, for the Governor had reinstated the right of masqueraders to assemble in the streets of the capital after the unrest. By 1890, the street mas of downtown POS had become little more than a rabble, although the creativity of the chantwells (calypsonians) and the odd masquerade troupe could be lauded. The day of organized bands was still some years in the future but groups of poor people from the depressed barrack yards of East POS joined together to make merry in fine style. Using the materials at their disposal, they created colourful and jaunty costumes which mimicked the popular themes of the day. While the wealthy had Carnival dances and balls, the lower classes frolicked through the city in the wild abandon that is really the spirit of Trinidad Carnival. This photo from 1896 shows a typical street mas of the period.