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Tradition - Carrying load on heads

Many years ago, in the rural parishes of Grenada, women walked along the road carrying heavy loads on their heads. The practice or tradition of carrying heavy loads on the head comes from West Africa. In the West African culture, women carry loads on their heads, including water, produce from farming, wet clothes or firewood.

In Grenada, women would carry loads on their heads including wet clothes from washing by the river side. Another example was the carrying of agricultural produce brought from the lands such as nutmeg, cocoa and banana. Rural vendors also carried loads on their heads on their way to the market to sell on a Saturday.

What is Kata?

Kata is the cloth that serves as a cushion to protect the head from the heavy load. It is the carrying pad. The Kata is a round bundle of either cloth or banana leaves. The Kata fits nicely on the top of the head. The Kata serves t balance the heavy load on the head.

Young girls learn to carry heavy loads using the Kata at a very early age, by either their mothers or grandmothers.

In the picture below, the Kata is blue in colour and is used to cushion the load of the heavy basket on the head. The basket carries local fruits and flowers.

Source: Flickr

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