the lifting of spiritual darkness with the lighting of diyas, small clay pots containing oil and a cotton wick. It is celebrated by Hindus worldwide, and Divali Day has been a public holiday in Trinidad for more than 40 years. Another major Hindu celebration is Ramleela - also known as Ramlila - which in Trinidad is known as the longest- running street theatre in the Caribbean. The name of the festival, which takes place in September or October, means, in a literal translation, a play of the story of Lord Ram, a Hindu god. The story is acted out for nine days at more than a dozen venues around the island, with texts read to music and brightly costumed dancers performing. Its climax is the burning in effigy of the villainous Rawan - the triumph of good over evil. Hosay, a street festival in which multi- coloured mausoleums are paraded then offered up to the sea, is celebrated in parts of Trinidad, Guyana and Jamaica, while Kumina - also known as Cumina - is a cultural form indigenous to Jamaica that combines religion, music and dance influenced by the Bantu- speaking people from the Congo- Angola region of Africa. All of which could hardly be further removed from Sir Elton John serenading a well- heeled festival crowd in Tobago with Benny and the Jets or Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. And that sort of diversity, after all, is what the Caribbean is all about. l July - September 2009 ZiNG 47 and La Marguerite) are held in August and October respectively. The participants are members of two ' rival' societies, dating back to the days of slavery and originating in co-operative work groups, which were created to provide mutual support, particularly in times of trouble. The rose and marguerite flowers - the latter a form of daisy - are their respective emblems. Their festivals are characterised by music, dance, song and characters like the king, queen, princess, judge, chantwel, joker, policeman, nurse and doctor - all dressed in appropriate costumes. The songs are generally in patois, praising their own society while poking fun at its rival. One of the most intriguing elements of La Woz and La Magwit is that in many cases the roles are hereditary - a particular family may produce a king, another a queen, another a judge, so that the tradition is passed along through generations. Equally unique is the Barbados Landship, and while it may be a stretch to categorise it as a " festival", it is rich in history and tradition. Essentially, the Landship is a navy that never goes to sea, and, like so many Caribbean cultural traditions, it has its roots in rebellion. The Barbados Landship, which dates back more than 140 years, used costumes that were distinctly European and naval so that the colonial masters of its early days would approve of its dances, which, however, were very African. Members of the Landship wear British naval uniforms, with female crew members usually dressed as navy nurses, and at least part of the objective is to poke fun at British pomp. For example, in one popular dance the crew members march with the right hand and foot advancing simultaneously. Other dances imitate the movement of a ship and crew at sea. The Landship, marching and dancing to the music of a traditional Tuk band, is a staple at major gatherings in Barbados. Among the Caribbean's major religious festivals are Phagwah, Divali and Ramleela. Phagwah, also known as Holi or the Festival of Colours, is a popular Hindu spring festival observed in the Caribbean countries of Suriname, Guyana and Trinidad where there is a large Hindu diaspora. The festive season can last up to 16 days, with the main day celebrated by people throwing coloured powder and water at one another. The festival is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month, which usually falls in February or March. Divali, the Festival of Lights, is centred around the new moon day of the month of Kaartik in the Hindu calendar, and symbolises LEFT: Crop Over in Barbados ABOVE: Party time at Carnival RIGHT: B ????? eating ?? o ? u ?? t ?? a rh ?? y ?? th ?? m ?? at M ?? a ?? rdi Gras
ROCK ST RS 48 ZiNG July - September 2009 ARCHAEOLOGY Long before the planes, the cruise ships and the tourists ever came to the Caribbean; long before the region was settled by the British, or even discovered by Christopher Columbus, there was a civilisation on the Caribbean islands, then inhabited by native Arawak Indians, and through their rock art it can still be appreciated today. By Judith Baker C aribs, Arawak, Siboney. Kalinago - these early inhabitants lived on the islands from around the time of Christ to 1650 AD ( approx). And, although little remains of their ancient culture, they left their mark in a range of fascinating stone carvings ( petroglyphs) which can still be seen on many islands, including Anguilla, St Vincent, St Kitts, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe and Grenada. These mysterious drawings provide ST KITTS TOURISM AUTHORITY an insight into the people and their beliefs, and are currently being studied by archaeologists from all over the world. You don't need to be an archaeologist however, to appreciate their beauty. Any visitor will enjoy the glimpse into the past that the petroglyphs give, and equally they are all in beautiful locations dotted around the islands Work on all these sites continues as historians discover more and more of the rich history of the region. What do they mean? Whether a form of ancestor worship, or simple boundary markings, they are certainly not to be regarded as mere curiosities. In some locations they represent the only intellectual remains of the ancient inhabitants. While visitors are encouraged to appreciate the carvings close up, measures are also in place to protect the petroglyphs, so when taking a rock tour of the islands, it's important to respect the work of these people who lived here long ago and contributed to the unique heritage we can appreciate today.