Apart from the steel pan, carnival costumes, parties, music and a host of other incredible things to do, see and experience during carnival time in Trinidad and Tobago, there is one thing that is just as popular as the aforementioned and that thing is a FLAG.
A Carnival flag could be a national flag, a crew flag (a flag with the name of your clique), a bandana, a washcloth, a towel, a random piece of cloth or clothing, basically anything you can attach to a flagpole and wave. Flags are usually seen at Carnival fetes (parties), steel pan competitions and even as the masqueraders parade along the streets on Carnival Monday and Tuesday.
Carnival bands use flags to help masqueraders know which band or section they belong to. These flags tend to have the band and section name printed in bright colors and are held by dedicated flag men or women in between each section and band. These flags help Carnival bands keep their masqueraders together and help masqueraders find their band's or section's location.
Party-goers use flags to find friends or keep the group together in a large crowd. They are also used to show support for their favorite soca musician who may be performing on stage during a live music event. These flags are more of the diy type and are typically attached to a flagpole made of a polyvinyl chloride pipe. This flagpole choice is specific as it enables the flag and the flag bearer to really explore and get creative with the way the flag is moved, at times even timing the movement to the music.
Steel pan bands and players, however, use flags as part of their performance. Each steel pan band has their own flag man or woman who essentially is as equally as important as the steel pan band itself. These flag bearers have fancy costumes and fancy flags and they do tricks with their flags throughout the entire steel pan bands' live performance. It is important that their flag bearer is dressed up, has great moves and has a great flag. This flag can at times have just the name of the steel pan band and other times include other information such as the band's sponsors, the name of the arranger or composer, the name of the captain of the band and any other mentionable names.
Although this may seem like a lot, there are still so many different types of carnival flags that you find during carnival time in Trinidad and Tobago. But, regardless of what type, color, size or purpose, a flag no matter how big or small is something many carnival goers make it a priority to have and take pride in getting it ready for its grand debut.
So after all this history, it was clear to us that we needed to have a flag as one of our carnival themed arts and crafts projects. Although we had a wide variety to choose from, we decided on crafting up a simple national flag of Trinidad and Tobago using some paper and other simple tools.
Take a look!
If you would like to learn how to make the national flag of Trinidad and Tobago using paper, then watching our video is the way to go. You will see the tools we used and see how easy this flag was to put together.
Wave Your Flag,
Tiva & Randa