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Stabroek News

Culture comes to life at Accompong
published: Tuesday | January 9, 2007

Claudine Housen, Staff Reporter


Members of the Scott's Hall maroons perform during the 269th Accompong maroon celebrations, last Saturday. - Photos by Claudine Housen/Staff Photographer

WESTERN BUREAU:

Thousands of patrons converged upon the community of Accompong, in St. Elizabeth, last Saturday, to witness the 269th celebration of the signing of the peace treaty between the maroons and the British, in 1738.

From as early as 9:00 a.m., patrons could be seen making their way, past a slew of vendors selling anything from snacks to name brand clothes, to the Kindah tree some distance into the interior of the community, where the traditional cooking, dancing and singing were under way.

Singing songs such as, "They send me fi go heng a fi mi own right oh," the maroons danced, sprinkled white rum and invoked the spirits of their ancestors.

There were a number of instances where the revellers came under myal or spiritual possession, but one of those which stood out under the tree was when a man, reportedly to be from a visiting Yoruba tribe, shoved and cursed a tourist, apparently asking him to leave.

A formal ceremony

After hours of revelling and the feeding of the ancestors, the maroon warriors then returned from Old Town to gather for a formal ceremony, in which patrons were told of the history of the maroons interspersed with maroon dance and presentations from each community.

A brilliant display of our nation's culture, Accompong celebration 2007 was a perfect example of history leaping from the pages of our history books.

A hallmark, in the both the maroon culture and the culture of Jamaica itself, the Kindah tree gathering was also interspersed with students, some of whom travelled from as far away as Kingston to learn about the maroon culture.

MAROON PICTORIAL

Eyes affixed to the stage, patrons sit on the grass during the second leg of the 269th anniversary celebration to mark the signing of the peace treaty between the maroons and the British.

With her bottle of white rum in hand, this maroon elder dances to the drums under the Kindah tree, in Accompong Town, St. Elizabeth. An integral part of the celebrations, white rum was poured onto the drums, and used to wipe the bodies of some of the performers. It was also used to loose persons believed to be in myal or spiritual possession. This woman used the fiery liquid to wet both performers and patrons, under the Kindah tree.

Patrons eat specially prepared meat during the 269th maroon celebration. It is believed that eating the specially prepared meat - unsalted pork and common fowl - will bring good luck.

Dressed for ambush, maroons march back from Old Town.

Lloyd Rowe (blowing the abeng) joins Colonel Wallace Sterling (left) of the Moore Town Maroons; Colonel Frank Lumsden (green shirt, partly hidden) of the Charles Town maroons; Colonel Sidney Peddie (in black cap) of the Accompong maroons; and Colonel Noel Prehay (right) of the Scott's Hall maroons as they lead the procession from Kindah to the monument of Cudjoe.

Surrounded by onlookers, maroon revellers dance and sing under the Kindah tree, in Accompong, St. Elizabeth, during their 269th annual celebration, last Saturday.

Time to feed the ancestors. A young maroon balances a pot of unsalted pork, which will be used to pay homage to the ancestors.

Colonel of the Charles Town maroons, Frank Lumsden (left), dances with fellow maroons during the group's presentation.

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