Anyone who has come to my country can attest to fact, that my people love celebrations. We are jubilant and open, welcoming all who are willing to join in the good vibe and maybe imbibe with us a bit. No such time, to me, has filled me with this spirit as Independence time. Notice I say ‘time’ and not ‘day’, why? Because as you may have gathered, my people love a session. We love a party, we LOVE to celebrate. So it only stands to reason, that to commemorate the date that we gained our political independence from the British, that there should not be a single day or a single event, but a whole week of jubilation. There are pageants and historical displays, every school has its Independence program or extravaganza, there is The National Youth Rally, where our future put their talents and discipline on display. There are food fairs and cultural shows, oh and the dress.
In the week coming up to Independence day the streets are flooded with madras. Men smartly dressed in waistcoats and women in full National Dress. Its heart warming really. If you ever get the change to come, see and revel you should. Definitely.
But I must say, while it may sound that way, it’s not all fun and games. It’s a time for remembrance, to hold in our minds and hearts the journey our nation has taken. To embrace our history and pass on the oral and social traditions of our people. And while the party may embody the spirit of the people, the knowledge of the history of that spirit is important to pass on.
That was the Mighty King Short Shirt, my forever and always calypso King of Antigua and Barbuda, singing my go to patriotic song. It reminds me of the standard my forefathers hope to set. The ideal nation, the just society they wanted me to grow up in, that they wanted my children to grow to uphold and appreciate. It’s a tall order isn’t it? For 440 square kilometers of land in a small archipelago separating a sea and an ocean.
But it is the prophesy I would love to see made true in my lifetime. It’s the mandate of my people I think, one that we, in time, will come to see as the only way for a nation to function.
It is a tall order, set for a strong resilient people, and we revel this week in celebration of where we were, where we are, and where we are going, as a people on a whole.