Every year as part of the Tobago Heritage Festival, the community of Charlotteville celebrates is traditions and rituals. Here are some that you may not know about...
Did you know that 'tamboo' comes from the French word 'tambour'? 'Tambour' means drum. So when you hear tamboo bamboo it really means bamboo drum. Tamboo bamboo music is made by a group of people beating dried bamboo stems on the ground. Some bamboo stems are long, while some are short so they make different sounds. The different types of bamboo used in a tamboo bamboo band are called booms, fullers, cutters and chandlers.
The Batty Mill
The batty mill works like a see-saw to squeeze the juice from sugar cane. The end of a piece of bamboo was put into a hole in a tree and a person would site on the other end and jump up and down. A sugar cane stalk was put under the bamboo and the up and down movement helped squeeze the juice out into a bucket below. The 'wet sugar' was used to sweeten tea and juices.
Dancing the Cocoa
After the cocoa pods are picked from the trees, the beans inside the pods need to be shelled and dried. To do this the cocoa farmers of long ago would jump and dance on them to help shell, dry and polish them. This was called 'dancing the cocoa'. It was hard work but could be a lot of fun!
Washing the Dead Bed
Long ago, when someone passed away their families had different ways of saying goodbye. In one of the traditions, the women in the village would take the person's clothes and wash them by a river. This is called Washing the Dead Bed. As they washed, they would also sing happy songs because they believed it was a way of honouring the life that passed.