(Originally published at OnePaper.com)
St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) have struggled long and hard to hone their carnival into what is now affectionately known as ‘Vincy Mas’. In the 1890’s, only one day was devoted to the ‘farewell to the flesh’ (the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday), but it was not Carnival as we know it. Calypso music had not yet found its footing in Trinidad or anywhere else in the Caribbean. From 1900 to 1940, there was still only one day’s celebration for the most part, but Calypso was a primary social commentary tool; the parades had started as well.
From 1947-present, the use of a yearly Carnival theme, grand costumes, floupes and floats, and all of the modern trappings of a cultural extravaganza developed. The Jaycees are credited with creating and sustaining the incarnation that most resembles what takes place today. The amount of time devoted to Carnival also grew, and Vincy Mas was eventually moved to the summer season. The Carnival Development Committee (CDC) now handles the promotion, organization and production of SVG Carnival.
The website CarnivalSVG.com provides an archive of photos, Vincy Mas history and Carnival season hotspots (on the Liming link). There is also a message board for sharing opinions and reaching out to fellow revellers.