In Grenada, there’s a level of regard the locals have for their ancestors that is almost unfathomable. Ancestry is celebrated year round and most festivals include ceremonies and rituals that either pay tribute to the ancestors or incorporate their practices.
In Carriacou, the plate and saraca ritual is one such tradition that is practiced at boat launchings, a maroon and the Tombstone Feast. A plate is offered to the ancestors filled with food, called saraca, and left on a white table cloth until midnight. Once the spirits have been appeased, the plate is removed and guests can enjoy the feast.
Grenadians also believe that if you dream of a person begging for food, an offering must be made to satisfy the spirits. A person of humble means can offer a plate of food but a person who is prosperous offers up saraca, or a feast.
Held the last weekend in April, was conceived out of a need to provide a platform for showcasing “Carriacouan” customs and traditions and also to promote string band musicians and other musical expressions.Maroon culture is about thanksgiving and offering prayers to the source of all life, production and prosperity. Its African origins are authentically depicted through the drumming, singing, eating of ‘smoke food’ and other rituals practiced by the local people. This aspect of the festival is a celebration of the rich cultural traditions, and the important values of sharing, unity and community self-help.String band music is very popular on Carriacou and has historically been a main source of entertainment at social functions.