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St. Patrick’s Day It’s not too late to get it right!

Once again Montserrat is about to celebrate, but care has been taken in some quarters, to call it ‘commemorate’, through a weeklong St Patrick’s Day calendar of events with regards to what has been observed consequentially, the 1768 abortive slave uprising 250 years ago of March 17, 1768.

Let us go back to TMR April 21, 2017 issue, where we will find the reference and a call to seriously attend to the debate as to whether we have become too tourist-minded, whether we have over-emphasised our Irish heritage while forgetting our African heritage and whether we therefore need to make a decisive shift towards celebrating our African heritage. The observation was also made that there was even the suggestion, that the name of the holiday should be changed.

Today, the information available on the debate as encouraged in that article has only dealt with the question, what is it that is celebrated or commemorated on St. Patrick’s Day and the week surrounding it. Should the festivities be concentrated on the African heritage only? So far no discussion as to the Irish ‘connection’ and the Romana Catholic Church! Meanwhile the argument ‘silently’ is that the celebrations really began with the Irish connection.

We refer to the article again which had suggested how the conversation should have been. There is no question that Montserrat has used the celebration which is what it was at the time when it began and turned it into a tourist attraction which of course means revenue for a disaster saturated environment socially, emotionally and physically.

It said, “While the Uprising is indeed a major part of the story, older Catholics here will tell us that our modern celebration of St Patrick’s Day started with the decades-old annual Catholic religious festival for the Saint, which was centred on the Village of that name. A village that is now swept away by pyroclastic volcanic flows.”

The calendar of events has been published. The numbers of visitors and tourists that are expected to be on island by March 17, reportedly will surpass the population.

We may most likely not know how many of the 7,000 ? or so will have an interest in why the celebration/commemoration is taking place or has been taking place, but there will be some especially our Caribbean neighbours, who would have come because of the cultural connections one way or the other.

So as far none of the conversations have informedly dealt with the issues as to why all of the celebrations/commemorations, and likely festivities should be welcomed and shown off culturally and otherwise. Indeed, there will be those who want to appreciate more where this all come from.

This from the article should have guided an informed discussion, the origin of the St. Patrick’s Day observation turned into festivities from what was a religious commemoration of St. Patrick’s and what he stood for.

Gradually, cultural celebrations began to accompany the celebrations, and people from across our island would specially travel to that village to take part in it. By 1985, Mrs. Annie Dyer Howe from the village, now a minister of government, led a movement that set St Patrick’s Day as a national holiday and celebration. Clearly, this festival therefore stands on many strands of our history, heritage and culture.

This writer here can vouch how this all evolved being old enough to oversee the St. Patrick youths put together plans and preparations that went from the days when a mass was celebrated in the honour of St. Patrick, the patron saint of the Roman Catholic Church parish in Montserrat.

De Ole Dawg, writer of the article cautioned, “We need to remember and celebrate such in a balanced way. For, culture, heritage and the history that shapes culture lie at the heart of our very existence and identity as a nation. We must accurately remember our past and what that has made us to be a people, if we are to soundly build the future.”

These questions are being asked of those who want to promote one side of the discussion only, leaving out completely that which was just referred. Why do we want to really promote or celebrate a failed Uprising? Why are we so willing to celebrate only the African heritage that brought our forefathers to these shores in the Caribbean, after fellow Africans sold them into slavery and into colonialism of the British? The same British we are bound to celebrate, having enslaved us welcomed Irish slaves, who also became our forefathers, mixed with the Africans, but we would like to discount the heritage which is mostly what we adopted? Isn’t that reality of our history, heritage and our culture. Why shun one or the other?

The Premier Romeo last year hinted on the state of affairs in Montserrat, as was noted in our the front page story of April 7, 2017 – https://www.themontserratreporter.com/st-patricks-day-week-of-festivities-to-be-remembered/. Speaking at the closing of the festivities at the Heritage Feast on St Patrick’s Day the Premier Donaldson Romeo called for the festival to maintain its uniqueness and inclusiveness. “This festival stands on history, history that can teach us all a lesson. 249 years ago while slave masters celebrated St. Patrick’s Day the slaves decided to take advantage of the merriness, merriment and drinking. They planned an uprising but it failed because of disunity.”

Obviously, too few else understood the message, or were just resentful of the probable hidden message. He went on to say, “It will take unity and togetherness strategic hard work and the determination to overcome the challenges that remain and overcome we shall as a people. So, as we build up towards next year’s 250th anniversary let us take time to ponder on all the lessons to be learned in our history.”

In that front page story we captured a sample of the nice things the visitors and tourists had to say. There was nothing but joyful, appreciative and happy comments. “There’s not one day like St. Patrick’s Day that you see so many people in one place at one time on Montserrat.”

This year may well pose a serious challenge in many ways. The food for instance mentioned by keen observers as being an issue last year. But here is what some said: “The preference of food is just so amazing that they just bring out the green bananas, the breadfruit the beans everything. Everything is just the flavour are just blooming out. I just love the atmosphere everyone’s here having a good time doesn’t matter where you go, what you do, everyone is having a good time…”

Some people are skeptical but the organisers are optimistic as they have to be. AS we report elsewhere there will be other challenges as the big debate has been should we seek to host the Day’s (17th) at a different venue other than Salem, because of the numbers, the transport/bussing and time problems.

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Once again Montserrat is about to celebrate, but care has been taken in some quarters, to call it ‘commemorate’, through a weeklong St Patrick’s Day calendar of events with regards to what has been observed consequentially, the 1768 abortive slave uprising 250 years ago of March 17, 1768.

Let us go back to TMR April 21, 2017 issue, where we will find the reference and a call to seriously attend to the debate as to whether we have become too tourist-minded, whether we have over-emphasised our Irish heritage while forgetting our African heritage and whether we therefore need to make a decisive shift towards celebrating our African heritage. The observation was also made that there was even the suggestion, that the name of the holiday should be changed.

Today, the information available on the debate as encouraged in that article has only dealt with the question, what is it that is celebrated or commemorated on St. Patrick’s Day and the week surrounding it. Should the festivities be concentrated on the African heritage only? So far no discussion as to the Irish ‘connection’ and the Romana Catholic Church! Meanwhile the argument ‘silently’ is that the celebrations really began with the Irish connection.

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We refer to the article again which had suggested how the conversation should have been. There is no question that Montserrat has used the celebration which is what it was at the time when it began and turned it into a tourist attraction which of course means revenue for a disaster saturated environment socially, emotionally and physically.

It said, “While the Uprising is indeed a major part of the story, older Catholics here will tell us that our modern celebration of St Patrick’s Day started with the decades-old annual Catholic religious festival for the Saint, which was centred on the Village of that name. A village that is now swept away by pyroclastic volcanic flows.”

The calendar of events has been published. The numbers of visitors and tourists that are expected to be on island by March 17, reportedly will surpass the population.

We may most likely not know how many of the 7,000 ? or so will have an interest in why the celebration/commemoration is taking place or has been taking place, but there will be some especially our Caribbean neighbours, who would have come because of the cultural connections one way or the other.

So as far none of the conversations have informedly dealt with the issues as to why all of the celebrations/commemorations, and likely festivities should be welcomed and shown off culturally and otherwise. Indeed, there will be those who want to appreciate more where this all come from.

This from the article should have guided an informed discussion, the origin of the St. Patrick’s Day observation turned into festivities from what was a religious commemoration of St. Patrick’s and what he stood for.

Gradually, cultural celebrations began to accompany the celebrations, and people from across our island would specially travel to that village to take part in it. By 1985, Mrs. Annie Dyer Howe from the village, now a minister of government, led a movement that set St Patrick’s Day as a national holiday and celebration. Clearly, this festival therefore stands on many strands of our history, heritage and culture.

This writer here can vouch how this all evolved being old enough to oversee the St. Patrick youths put together plans and preparations that went from the days when a mass was celebrated in the honour of St. Patrick, the patron saint of the Roman Catholic Church parish in Montserrat.

De Ole Dawg, writer of the article cautioned, “We need to remember and celebrate such in a balanced way. For, culture, heritage and the history that shapes culture lie at the heart of our very existence and identity as a nation. We must accurately remember our past and what that has made us to be a people, if we are to soundly build the future.”

These questions are being asked of those who want to promote one side of the discussion only, leaving out completely that which was just referred. Why do we want to really promote or celebrate a failed Uprising? Why are we so willing to celebrate only the African heritage that brought our forefathers to these shores in the Caribbean, after fellow Africans sold them into slavery and into colonialism of the British? The same British we are bound to celebrate, having enslaved us welcomed Irish slaves, who also became our forefathers, mixed with the Africans, but we would like to discount the heritage which is mostly what we adopted? Isn’t that reality of our history, heritage and our culture. Why shun one or the other?

The Premier Romeo last year hinted on the state of affairs in Montserrat, as was noted in our the front page story of April 7, 2017 – https://www.themontserratreporter.com/st-patricks-day-week-of-festivities-to-be-remembered/. Speaking at the closing of the festivities at the Heritage Feast on St Patrick’s Day the Premier Donaldson Romeo called for the festival to maintain its uniqueness and inclusiveness. “This festival stands on history, history that can teach us all a lesson. 249 years ago while slave masters celebrated St. Patrick’s Day the slaves decided to take advantage of the merriness, merriment and drinking. They planned an uprising but it failed because of disunity.”

Obviously, too few else understood the message, or were just resentful of the probable hidden message. He went on to say, “It will take unity and togetherness strategic hard work and the determination to overcome the challenges that remain and overcome we shall as a people. So, as we build up towards next year’s 250th anniversary let us take time to ponder on all the lessons to be learned in our history.”

In that front page story we captured a sample of the nice things the visitors and tourists had to say. There was nothing but joyful, appreciative and happy comments. “There’s not one day like St. Patrick’s Day that you see so many people in one place at one time on Montserrat.”

This year may well pose a serious challenge in many ways. The food for instance mentioned by keen observers as being an issue last year. But here is what some said: “The preference of food is just so amazing that they just bring out the green bananas, the breadfruit the beans everything. Everything is just the flavour are just blooming out. I just love the atmosphere everyone’s here having a good time doesn’t matter where you go, what you do, everyone is having a good time…”

Some people are skeptical but the organisers are optimistic as they have to be. AS we report elsewhere there will be other challenges as the big debate has been should we seek to host the Day’s (17th) at a different venue other than Salem, because of the numbers, the transport/bussing and time problems.