Passing on the tradition: What Carnival means to this mother-daughter duo

Passing on the tradition: What Carnival means to this mother-daughter duo

you keep popping out sorry so she just won’t sit still that’s the problem oh my goodness thank you mom my name is heather mark and my name is anika mark and this is my mom [Music] what was your experience with carnival living in trinidad and tobago okay so uh when we were growing up um our mom would take us on carnival tuesday and we would collect the little pieces of costumes because on tuesdays when everybody wanted to sort of get rid of their costumes because it’s been two days and so as little children we would run around and then a lot of the masqueraders would just hand things to us and then we would sort of have our own little parade i think because i grew up in trinidad it was a big thing we participated in a lot of the kitty ones like my mom was really really big into carnival but it is really synonymous you say you’re from trinidad and tobago people are like oh it’s carnival and so to me i think that it’s it’s within my blood like courses through my veins and everything else yeah carnival is an expression of freedom in the caribbean when slavery was abolished in the caribbean they celebrated through carnival through costumes through music through food through culture it was a really important way for us to be free to feel like our freedom wasn’t just legislative it was actually in real life it was physical we were in the streets dancing i think carnival’s really important to emancipation because it is you know carnival is an element of our emancipation and our continuous emancipation okay so mommy today we’re going to be looking at some photos of us as a family at caribana you at caribana okay oh my gosh this one is so look at me with my brook arm oh my gosh you see rain shine brock arm we’re at caribana like what are we i think that’s like right outside princess market gates yeah right when we’re i think it’s like when we’re going in a lot of people and you will see through a lot of the photos we were just like hey could you come here and they were so like okay we’ll take a picture with you and everybody just wanted to come in and take pictures with us and it’s really nice just watching all the costumes too when we went down there yeah me and my brook arm i think i had people from caribana try to sign it yeah i was always like sign it what was it like to celebrate um caribana and carnival in toronto with us you know what i really wanted my kids to have the same experience i wanted you guys to be able to go out and see the masqueraders and be part of it i knew there was a lot of elements that were very very different being in canada um but i still wanted them to see the masqueraders i wanted them to know about the music the culture so we would see the steel pan and we went with my husband’s family all the time so we would always go down it was always a big event remember we’d go with grandma yeah and she’d have her chair and she’d prop herself down and that was our go-to so we would always go back to grandma and just letting them be a part of that and the funny thing is is that my kids would do the same thing they would go to masqueraders and say oh could we have and my son was really cute because he was really really little at that time just use him like yeah so anytime he would go to anybody they would just be like handing him things left right and center and he thought he was just the sweetest thing ever because of that so and of course the girls they were they were little kids at that point so they got to be a part of that so they basically it’s almost generational where i was able to collect those things in trinidad and here my kids were being able to do the same thing so it was it was it was fun so what important element of our family of our life do you feel would be missing if we didn’t incorporate caribbean carnival i think you’d be missing out on basically your history in terms of an understanding of part of my culture is the fact that we had carnival it’s a component of liberation the slaves would watch their masters do a masquerade party hence the term masqueraders and they would see how they would have the big skirts and everything else and the big hats and so a lot of that came into being part of what carnival became it was almost a mockery of what the slave masters were doing and so they came in and they would mock them and then they realized oh this is a lot of fun and then it’s just how it evolved like carnival just wasn’t one stagnant thing it’s evolved over the years even the music has evolved and i think that’s a really really important component to see that we are not stagnant as a people despite the adversities despite everything else there’s always change and movement so and and that as a people one of the most important things is learning to move forward with adversity so even though we were the slaves we still found fun and pleasure and excitement in being able to mimic those sort of things and eventually start to make it our own bringing in the steel drum using a lot of the african traditions in terms of even the dances that we used to do and learning to really celebrate and and recapture elements of ourselves that were taken away and i think that’s a really important thing that they got to learn when they were growing up so what do you love most about carnival um what i love most about carnival is the music i think it makes me genuinely feel really free because it’s not just like you listen to music in your headphones or on the road like you like the pulse of carnival is real you know like it’s just like it’s in the air the music’s in the air the culture’s in the air and you can feel it in your bones and your soul i just feel myself you know like and i feel like there’s no judgment no judgment zone at caravana and i think that’s really important especially for blind people in the city to feel like that at least once in a while yeah you know god oh jesus cute i love this photo of my mom one because she has her trini fly my mom and her trini flag and two i love this purple costume on you mommy it was so pretty and also i don’t know if this is too much too personal i know what she’s gonna say go ahead no but this was like my mom um this was one of my mom’s weight goals was that she wanted to play in mass um so after she had us and all of that one of her goals was i want to get down to this weight so i can play carnavan so this was her first time being in carnival and looking sexy thank you yeah yeah i know this is a i love this moment i love this moment for you me i’m glad you like it but you know what when you’re in a scene like that you actually lose any sort of sense of size there wasn’t any more issue because everybody is every size shape color height everything so that everybody had different body types so you just i didn’t even need to lose weight to play mass i could have just played mass whenever i wanted to i didn’t feel anything there was no sense of oh my goodness look at me i look so skinny in my costume it wasn’t anything like that as soon as you got in you just get caught up in the whole you know initially at first you feel like you want to cover certain areas and then after a while you’re just like i don’t even care anything pop out i really don’t care we’re just having a good time here okay so what was your favorite memory of being at carnival and i remember my mom brought us right up next to a float and the music was like never felt unsafe i never felt like i was gonna get lost i never felt scared at all it just felt really overwhelming in a really positive way it was really hard to like understand bad was happening or that it was like confusing or whatever but it was just so nice to be so close to a bunch of people that were just you know just dancing and you know music and the speakers being right there so i think that was my favorite memory because it was like my first experience on the road and it was like overwhelming but in a great way and i feel like as an adult i still experience that overwhelming feeling in a great way and it’s little moments like that where i feel like canada is home to an extent um i know i was born in canada and like there’s a lot of things about me that are very canadian but i think as a diasporic child there is this sense of i’m othered when you get into an uber and somebody immediately asks you where are you from they’re not they’re not immediately thinking you’re canadian right they’re thinking that you’re from somewhere else and i feel like as i grew up i always adopted that you know i’m caribbean you know i’m not necessarily i live in canada but i’m caribbean my mom is trini my dad’s grenadian and when people ask me that’s what i’m telling them you know when i go to carnival i’m really reminded that like wow this is me right and i think it’s cool that it’s in toronto because it really kind of at that moment it connects me to my city a little bit more for me to be like wow i’m free in my city you know i love my city i love this carnival and i love this caribana but you know it’s this sense of me kind of being myself in a country that kind of wants to other me constantly you know so touching cry so what does carnival symbolize to you uh carnival to me really is about freedom i think i already felt that going as a kid that it was something where i was just free and it was just this beautiful environment but i think as i grew up and i started to really learn the histories of it and what it means and what it means in the caribbean and you know just the fact that there’s like caribbean people made this a thing in our city um it’s so much more personal like it really is liberation for me it is an act of liberation and it’s an act of emancipation um and so yeah i think for me that’s really what it means is freedom in its most authentic form um yeah
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Passing on the tradition: What Carnival means to this mother-daughter duo

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