For the first time in 283 years, the Accompong Maroons in St Elizabeth is not going to be staging their customary face-to-face annual celebrations on January 6, due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
The occasion, which options a number of parts, together with civic and leisure actions, is thought to draw native Maroons and non-Maroons alongside regional and worldwide guests.
“Regrettably, due to the COVID-19 scenario, we’re pressured to interrupt from custom this yr,” mentioned Colonel Ferron Williams, the chief of the Accompong Maroons. “Nonetheless, these occasions that we aren’t in a position to do head to head shall be performed just about in order that the expertise might be shared with these we can’t accommodate head to head.”
In keeping with Williams, there shall be conventional honouring of the ancestors, which is without doubt one of the main causes for the annual celebrations.
“All ancestral celebrations shall be noticed in appreciation of our freedom fighters,” mentioned Williams. “The actions that we’re doing on location at Accompong shall be streamed reside on the Web so those that can’t come bodily can watch the occasion right here in Jamaica or wherever they’re on the planet.”
The day’s actions start with the ritual proceedings at 10 a.m. and shall be adopted by the civic ceremony, which can culminate at 5 p.m.
COVID PROTOCOLS TO BE OBSERVED
In keeping with Williams, along with not having any crowds, all of the well being and security protocols because it pertains to the COVID-19 pandemic shall be noticed.
“We shall be observing social distancing, the carrying of masks, and correct sanitisation,” mentioned Williams. “We all know that there are individuals who shall be disenchanted that we have now to be doing it this fashion this yr, however hopefully, when this COVID-19 scenario is behind us, we will return to our regular celebrations.”
The celebration is primarily to recognise the birthday of Cudjoe, the famed chief of the Maroons in 1738, who led them in profitable battles in opposition to the British, who dominated Jamaica then. Cudjoe is extremely revered amongst Maroons for his bravery and the sacrifices he made to make sure his followers didn’t fall below British rule.
Historically, the celebrations embrace singing, dancing, storytelling, cooking and, in current occasions, sound system music, which has grow to be a serious drawing card for particularly the non-Maroons.
“The celebration is a crucial a part of our custom so we needed to discover a strategy to make it occur,” mentioned Williams. “The civic ceremony is especially essential so we’re blissful that we will try this head to head and throughout the well being protocols.”