Father of Holy Cross’ remembered as Holy Cross College celebrates 65 years
February 15, 2023
Skin and self-care tips for a safe Carnival
February 15, 2023

A close encounter of the blue devil kind…

Senior writer Lara Pickford-Gordon had a brief encounter with a few blue devils. Interestingly, she left with not even a smudge of paint – two years social distancing helped…

Fork in hand, red liquid-like blood draining from their mouths, menacing glares, two Paramin blue devils danced to a rhythm beaten on a biscuit tin by a third. They were part of a display of traditional mas’ characters at the John Cupid Carnival Village, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain on February 3. Pierrot Grenade, clowns, Fancy Indians were also on show.

Students of South East Port of Spain Government Secondary school attending for the day’s programme screamed and ran away as the devils approached with a bag for them to ‘pay the devil’.

Some students tried to shield their faces not to get attention of the performers.

It was all in fun for the students and amusement of other spectators present.  Children from a Belmont pre-school looked on with curiosity, one or two were crying, possibly startled by what they were seeing.

Twenty-year-old Brandon Singh told the Catholic News he has been playing Blue Devil since he was 12 years. As a child he was never frightened by the devil mas’ portrayals and gravitated to playing the character.

He learned to play from Ashton Fournillier and has travelled to different parts of Trinidad and to Tobago to present the character. “I like it and am still in it,” he said. Doing a performance, “you have to be frightening” Singh said. He said a combination of aloe vera and blue body paint was applied to the skin.

Ashton Fournillier

Damien Felician, 41 was born and raised in Paramin. He began playing blue devil at 15 years. He started with beating the tin but wanted to dance. Felician said when the devils go out as a group, four would dance and two would beat the tin “to get a rhythm to bring forth the portrayal”. Contrary to the appearance, he described the way he feels playing as “a good spirit”.

Ashton Fournillier, the most experienced in the trio said he is Catholic. “The reason I love Carnival is because there is Ash Wednesday—there is a religious angle.”

“This is something that is in our tradition, from our fore parents… this is why we keep playing mas’ right through. So, I don’t play the devil, I play Jab Jab… the French Creole word for devil. You can’t play the devil… I am mimicking,” he said with a shriek and shake.

In the past, the threat of going to hell was used to get naughty children to behave and adults to avoid law breaking. “You have to be bad to go to hell, so you don’t ever break the law, you be good.”