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Children participate in Nine Mornings activities in Stubbs (Photo: Facebook via Asbert Williams).

By Adrian Codogan

Nine Mornings celebrations started in the late 17th century after sugar production took hold of the local economy. Joseph Chatoyer, paramount chief of the Calinagos, now National Hero of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, had already been killed and his followers had been exiled or fled to the hills or succumb to the plantation system, so any Englishman with a dime and a dream headed into the sugar rush. It was the height of the industrial revolution and, with St Vincent and the Grenadines being newly acquired territory, many British gentlemen bought land titles without even seeing the lands; much of these lands proved to be worthless of course, in terms accessibility. Many plantations had absentee owners who lived in Europe but spent the winter in the West Indies and they all had town houses; even lower gentry like managers and overseers maintain homes with families in Kingstown.

Nine Mornings is synonymous with the nine main leading plantations in St Vincent during the height of the sugar boom. Beginning on December15, each of these nine cabals would host a ball in their Kingstown residence with large-scale animal slaughter, food and drinking and much merriment. However, by 2 a.m., the plantation owners and all the white folks would be drunk, tired and sleeping so all the food and liquor would be left to the blacks, who know how to party. They would be all over Kingstown in parody knowing that there were eight more mornings to follow as the host of the next ball was going to outdo the previous one, slaughtering more animals, more rum and splendor and so the events would escalate right up to Christmas…

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