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Mystic Fighters

Kalenda was known to be a dance to the drum and shack-shack in the plantations during colonial times.

However, “The Kalenda in Trinidad is not significant as a dance but for the fact it has become associated with a form of stick-fighting. (Pearse 1951:210) The rhythm of the old Calendas have been taken over for stick fighting and carries the same name Kalenda (Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad & Tobago. Lise Winer). 

Stick fighting was also part of the celebrations of emancipation from slavery: Canboulay, Camboulay, Cannes brulees where the Negre Jardin masquerade was adopted by African stick fighters after 1838 (Ritual of Power & Rebellion. Hollis “Chalkdust” Liverpool).

Bands of stickmen wearing colored shirts and ‘fulas’ (from the French “foulard”) to protect their heads would take the streets on carnival Monday and fight rival bands with ‘bwas’ (from the French bois). Their costumes were changed to “tight fitting satin pants, embroidered shirts decorated with swansdown, rhinestones and mirrors.” On carnival Tuesday (Ritual of Power & Rebellion. Hollis “Chalkdust” Liverpool).

Nowadays the costume of the Negre Jardin can only be seen during traditional mass and at the national stick fighting finals where stickmen wear the decorated shirts to fight for the ultimate title of King.

Source .mysticfighters

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