IN PICTURES: Tewey Vaval 2016


The 2016 Carnival season officially ended with ‘Tewey Vaval’ in Bataca in the Kalinago Territory on Wednesday evening.

First a fake coffin was paraded to dancing and the beating of drums.

When night fell kerosene torches (bouzai) were lit while the parade continued.

Finally, the coffin was burnt to ashes marking the end of the Carnival.

See photos below.

Photos courtesy of Gregory Rabess.

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    February 13, 2016

    hmmmm i see we black people enjoying paganismmm. we making de father cry

  2. anna
    February 12, 2016

    This is also practiced in the village of Dublanc where incidentally there is a large number of french– martinique== roots. Nice ceremony.

  3. Kalinago
    February 12, 2016

    The burning of the fake coffin represents the “burial” hence the Creole term “Tewey” in Tewey Vaval which means burying Vaval, the spirit of Carnival. So adieu to the spirit of Carnival, until next year. Ash Wednesday signifies the beginning of the Lenten Season and so all party ceases. I think the we should have a “Levey Vaval” ceremony but that’s just my idea. It took about five or more years for the Tourism Board to officially have vaval as part of the official carnival celebrations and it would be wonderful to have a Levey Vaval as well as part of Carnival and properly market it

    • anonymous2
      February 12, 2016

      I don’t think so. That is reminiscent of ritual sacrifice. That practice would bring to light the occult influence..

    • Just Me
      February 12, 2016

      Thanks so very much. Now this is something we really need to develop further. I too think that if the spirit of Carnival was never born how then do we kill and bury it. I think that is where it should begin at the opening the efigy should be paraded and even placed at all the major carnival activities. That way when it comes to tewey vaval the significance would be better understood and bring greater participation.

      Thanks again. Nice and positive vibes.

  4. Just Me
    February 11, 2016

    Hello Mr. Editor

    Here’s a suggestion. Do a nice little story on the history of this event etc. In particular why it is held in Bataca every year (not that I have a problem with it). It would be useful for us to be able to connect the dots … the beginning of Carnival and its end … till the next one.


    • Kalinago
      February 12, 2016

      Well, “Just Me,” the practice is one which was “imported” from the French Island of Guadeloupe by a native of Bataca, who frequently travelled to Guadeloupe. It started with little or no real preparation, just a few of the young guys just did a vikey vye thing and made the fake coffin, started drumming, dancing up and down the streets, singing at 3pm on Ash Wednesday, 1991 I believe that was. Other villagers joined in on the fun; the police looked on wondering what was going on but there was no violence so they did not stop it. They joined in. By the following year, it was planned better; the effigy “Vaval” signifying the spirit of Carnival was built better, a better fake coffin was made, there was a “priest” who read the “eulogy” before the jump up began, the villagers were named as his “family and friends” , people faked cry, after dancing up and down the streets throughout half of the Kalinago Territory, the fake coffin was burnt at its current site, signifying the end…

  5. Michael
    February 11, 2016

    It’s good this tradition lives on. We need to ”nice” it up with a priest conducting the final rite and a few persons delivering eulogies.

    • FORKIT
      February 13, 2016

      is it?…. good for who. lord preserve my soul

  6. February 11, 2016

    Zor sort ey

    • Concerned
      February 14, 2016

      my thoughts exactly……pagans

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