Shifting Carnival to another Time of the Year Will Pose Challenges, Says Chairman of Carnival Mills

Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 21, 2017(SKNIS)—Chairman of the National Carnival Committee, Noah Mills, said that from a marketing perspective, it would be difficult to change the time for St. Kitts and Nevis’ Carnival because of the scheduling of events around the region.

Speaking on the government’s radio and television programme “Working For You” on January 18, Mr. Mills, in addressing concerns about the simultaneous hosting of Carnival and Christmas activities and the effect this has on religious observances, said Carnival is not only for nationals living at home but also for those living in the diaspora.

“When you look along the calendar, 12 months, the first question that comes to mind is where would you put it? You’re not having Carnival just for Kittitians and Nevisians anymore. You want persons around the region to come and you want nationals to return,” Mr. Mills said. “A lot of nationals who reside abroad use that time to come back not only to have their holiday but to celebrate Christmas with their families and to also participate in Carnival,” Mr. Mills said.

He noted that the number of events regionally and locally scattered across the calendar makes it difficult to switch the period for Carnival.

“Not only do the other countries have their Carnival scattered month by month, some of them also have music festivals occupying the other months. And you also have sporting events like CPL (Caribbean Premier League) cricket,” Mr. Mills said.

He also suggested that the cost of marketing the change of date would be astronomical.

“I could only imagine how much money it would take to create an effective marketing strategy to tell the world that the new date for Carnival in St. Kitts and Nevis is in April, or May, or June,” he said, adding that locally, the calendar is also packed.

Meanwhile, while it is said by some that Carnival supersedes the religious celebration of Christmas, he noted that there must be discussion on the issue and an effort made to marry both.

“I think the solution is that we re-introduce whatever cultural, spiritual elements have been lost, for example, caroling. And maybe Carnival must organize a competition where carols in a calypso format can be created,” he suggested.

He also pointed to efforts that the National Carnival Committee has made to merge the secular with the sacred at Christmas time, including the Christmas tree lighting introduced during Sugar Mas 44.

“(Last) year, we actually partnered with the Anglican Church on Cayon Street, and we had that ceremony where we lit their Christmas tree and we had prayers and we had carols and we had spiritual dancing and we gave out the gifts right there,” the carnival committee chairman said.

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