bmobile partners with the village of Moriah
Port of Spain, Trinidad, July 21, 2017
All roads led to Moriah on the second day of the Tobago Heritage Festival 2017 for the signature Moriah Ole Time Wedding. Whether sun or rain, every year scores of people make their way to this small village nestled between Mason Hall and Castara, for one of the more exciting experiences on the Heritage calendar, where the villagers re-enact how the freed slaves got married just after emancipation.
The day starts with a wedding ceremony that takes place in what used to be the old Moravian church. Guests are entertained as the uninvited village ‘maco’ (overly nosey person) stands outside the church making unsavory comments about the character of the bride and groom whilst the ceremony is being conducted. This year the bride and groom were portrayed by real life married couple Deon Briggs and Simone Scipio-Briggs.
After the ceremony, comes the high point of the wedding – the procession through the streets of Moriah, led by the bmobile ambassadors followed by Massa and his wife in a carriage, then the bride and groom and their extensive wedding party. Here, the iconic Tobago indigenous dances Brush Back and Reel and Jig are showcased and persons have the opportunity to join in, learn the steps or simply enjoy the artistic and intricate leg movements of these creative dancers.
“The Moriah Ole Time Wedding is truly a unique experience. The electrifying atmosphere of the street procession captivates you, and every year you just want to come back for more. One can easily become a cultural addict after experiencing Moriah. Being able to team up with the villagers to showcase this unique and important aspect of the Tobago Heritage, allows us at bmobile to contribute to the passing on of the culture to the youth”, said Onica Blackman, Enterprise Marketing and Communications Manager, TSTT, Tobago Operations.
The re-enactment of the Moriah Ole Time Wedding first got started in 1962 when Trinidad and Tobago gained independence. Then Prime Minister late Dr. Eric Williams issued a circular to all village councils, asking them to do an activity to commemorate the attainment of independence, and this is how the Moriah Ole Time Wedding was born. It was later incorporated into the Tobago Heritage Festival which started in 1987.
Today the young people play a vital role. According to Winfield Carrington, President of the Moriah Heritage Committee for the past 25 years, “Young people love it. Youths are encouraged to take part to ensure continuity when the elders pass on. Children as young as 7, 8 and 9 are taking part.” Carrington also explained that the Tambrin music is real music from the ancestors. The tambrin was created when the slaves used to cut the drums to make them smaller and easier to hide and carry, when they secretly gathered unknown to the slave masters. As part of the procession, patrons are treated to cake and wine at the community centre, followed by a stage production on the Moriah playing field.