Traditional Mas
Traditional Mas

Good Hope Black Devils as black as tar; Afrikulture Stilt Walkers as tall as coconut trees; frightening Colihaut Ban Mauve beating their tails on the pavement, making noises that sting; queen contestants so beautiful Cleopatra of ancient Egypt would cry with envy; lapeau kabwit bands making music from old non-musical instruments that somehow causes everyone to jump and wave. That, essentially, was the official opening of Carnival held on the streets of Roseau on Saturday afternoon. And, oh, we forgot- there were thousands of spectators who lined both sides of the streets from the Portersville Savanah to the Dame Eugenia Boulevard. "De kontry nice, boy" .

"Carnival takes on special prominence because it is the first of the three major events staged each year on Dominica festival calendar," said Collin Piper, the Chief Executive Officer of Discover Dominica Authority (DDA) and Chairman of Dominica Festivals Committee at the official opening of carnival ceremony.

"Events such as these are very important as they attract visitors to the island and with that come economic activity in the form of hotel bookings, filled restaurants, car rentals and grocery shopping; this economic activity often trickle down and many in Dominica are the recipients of this and benefit spending generated from the activity such as carnival.

"There is a lot of spending by residents as well as they join a band, host a party or fete or attend a show. So we recognize the economic activity generated from the spending done by resident Dominicans as well."

In addition, Jacinta David, Acting Chief Cultural Officer (representing the Minister of Culture) said: "There is a great deal of excitement in Roseau. The opening parade was a colourful and creative spectacle and it gives us an indication what to expect in terms of bands, floats, pageants for the Real Mas in February.

"I must make special mention of the Kalinago contingent with their colourful tete mas which was created by the special workshop two weeks ago and organized by the Division of Culture in collaboration with the Ministry of Kalinago Affairs, the Kalinago Council and DDA.

"Let me also recognized the contemporary carnival bands, the costume designers and builders. This afternoon we have seen the example of the beautiful costumes that will be showcased on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. This is a testimony to your creativity, your commitment, your passion for carnival and your hard work."

Meanwhile, Ian Douglas, Minister of Trade (representing the Minister of Tourism) said: "It is here again, Carnival with us again, Carnival time in Dominica; a time of pageantry, street parades, of jump-ups and of fetes, time to fill the streets and the airways with pulsating songs with the Lapo Kabwit, with the calypso and our Bouyon."

Douglas added that in Dominica we are fortunate to have a unique culture and special way of life, a very unique carnival celebration which displays our rich culture and our ancestors' heritage which were very evident in the streets of Roseau on Saturday afternoon.

"We are here to unveil Mas Domnik 2105 and I am sure that the excitement we build on this event is another spectacle for our tourism industry because Mas Domnik is a centrepiece of a trio of activities put on by the DDA," said Douglas.

He added: "Our communities and towns, they come alive with carnival fever as our groups, our artists, our entrepreneurs, our musicians, our schools and our institutions and our stakeholders will enjoy the festivities for 2015.

"We are a proud people with a rich tradition that is deep in our African and Kalinago heritage; our heritage is our authentic form of patriotism, it is nationalistic, it is international in its packaging."