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Sailor mas - Traditional mas in Grenada

The Sailor mas is the only example of European and American influence on traditional mas. All other forms of traditional mas are rooted in our African heritage and ancestry in Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique.


Source: Now Grenada

This was a portrayal by Ignite mas, a children's and from St. David.

Sailor mas Grenada costume
Sailor mas costume

Origin

The concept for Sailor mas was influenced by the presence of British, French and American sailors to the shores of the Caribbean in the 1880s and 1890s. The sailors came aboard naval ships which docked in Port-of-Spain in Trinidad. Hence, Trinidad was the first place that the Sailor mas was started. In the 1930s, Sailor mas emerged in Trinidad. Today, Belmont community in Trinidad is the home of the Sailor mas.


In Grenada, Sailor mas was brought from Trinidad.


Appearance

In Sailor mas, the masqueraders wear white. This includes white clothing such as white pants, white skirts and white blouses. Also, they wear white gloves and white berets. Sometimes, the beret can be black, but most often, it is white. Masqueraders carry a long stick. Other adornments on the costume include cords, ribbons and medals.


Performance

The most distinctive part of the Sailor mas is the dance. A variety of dances can be done including Camel walk, Skip jack, and Rock de boat. Masqueraders practice their performance ahead of parade days to ensure they put on a display on the streets.

Traditional sailor mas bands perform without any music. Instead, the masqueraders would be singing on the streets.


Today, Sailor mas can be accompanied by steel pan or even dj music.


History

Ricardo Keens Douglas is the name most renown with Sailor mas bands in Grenada especially in the 1990s. In 2022, Sailor mas returned after a long period of dormancy. This sailor mas band is put on by Upstage mas.


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