National Patriotism Month Celebrates TT’s Diversity
The events of 2020 have reiterated a need to revert to those core values, events, and achievements that stimulate patriotic pride in Trinidad and Tobago. Senator the Honourable Randall Mitchell believes that “our nation, like most nations across the world, is searching for healing. Culture and the Arts are time-tested agents of upliftment, and we at the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts are determined to elevate our country’s morale with a celebratory journey through our artistic heritage.” Through a concerted effort by the Culture Division of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, National Patriotism Month will take on a new dimension as an online campaign, intended to remind citizens and even our global diaspora of our never-ending “Trinbagonian love.”
Themed “Celebrating Diversity”, National Patriotism Month will present a packed, online campaign with the primary objective of educating, entertaining and engaging audiences. The month-long commemoration is aptly positioned from late August to September 24th, capturing two of this country’s most significant historical observances- Independence Day and Republic Day. “During this period in our calendar, our country is draped in the national colours and nation-building songs fill our airwaves. We remember why our ancestors fought for our freedom; our right to have a unique voice in this world. There is no better time to host a month of patriotic musings”, says Senator Mitchell.
The Culture Division of the MTCA has already kicked off celebratory events with the first of four concerts titled “100% Trini Pan.” The successful virtual concert aired on Independence Day as a tribute to the intersection of National Steelpan Month, Patriotism Month, and our 58th Independence. The other three concerts titled- Soca, Calypso and Chutney Temperatures”, “Colours of Consciousness” and “Parang in September” will be aired on September 11th, 18th and 24th respectively.
The online campaign will also encompass a multitude of recaps including the Culture Division’s Cultural Camps, highlights of past mentors of the Mentoring by the Masters programme, and past Music Schools in the Community performances; three programmes all aimed at capacity-building in the cultural sector. From the community perspective, highlights of Community Festivals held for CARIFESTA 2019 as well as educational profiles on various communities of will be featured weekly. These snippets will remind citizens of the abundant opportunities for more localized, cultural tourism. The Division has also gone into its vault to relive past concerts including Live@Lunch performances, Pan on a Higher Note (2018) and Diamonds in the Sun (2015) by the National Performing Arts Entities as well as several weekly throwbacks by the national performing entities. Other cultural recaps will include virtual interviews conducted for the Division’s commemoration of Indian Arrival Day and Emancipation Day respectively, with a new interview highlighting the heritage of our Syrian/Lebanese community.
The MTCA is ever mindful of the COVID-19 pandemic and has chosen to highlight cultural achievements coming out of this trying time. According to Senator Mitchell, “instead of evading it, we are confronting COVID-19 with an attitude of positivity by highlighting the creative outputs of our citizens.” There will be three separate features celebrating how Trinbagonians have converted the pandemic into stories of redemption. The Division will feature short clips on how Trinbagonians showed love of country by sewing and donating face masks; how we used the extempo artform to drive critical public education messages, and of course, how we all engaged in social media “culinary showdowns”. The Performing entities will present an emotionally-charged piece called “Lockdown reflections,” where members of the Theatre Arts Company reveal raw, honest perspectives on the pandemic.
Tobago is very much part of the National Patriotism Month celebrations, as each Monday the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) will present segments on Tobago’s rich cultural heritage and biodiversity, with our audiences. From its unique heritage in music, dance, food and poetry to its serene ecology, the Tobago experience and perspectives on nationalism, complement that of Trinidad’s to make this twin island state an extraordinary place to call home.
Citizens are invited on this exciting journey by joining the Culture Division’s Facebook and IG pages, @Culture Divistiontt, as well as the MTCA’s FB page. Weekly calendars will also be published in the online and in the press for citizens to stay abreast of events.