Sunday, 13 November 2011

Baptised Drum

This video from Ouidah, Benin depicts part of ceremony to consecrate a new drum. The Belmont Radas also baptised their new drums usually the day before a ceremony. A small food offering of rice, peas and corn is made. Also, a godmother and godfather are chosen for the drum. The last godparents were Henry and Natassha.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

What is Voodoo?

Article from the Huffington Post.

Racism clouds our view of Voodoo. It is rooted in slavery and intricately connected to this hemisphere's political and social evolution. Voodoo was first practiced in America and the Caribbean by slaves of African descent, whose culture was both feared and ridiculed. Slaves were not considered fully human. Their religion was dismissed as superstition, their priests were denigrated as witchdoctors, their Gods and Spirits were denounced as evil.

Friday, 4 November 2011

November Ceremony

Back in the day, the last Rada ceremony for the calendar year would begin today, the first Thursday of November and continue on Friday. The ceremony is called Kututo and is given for the souls of the deceased. There is also a mass for the souls in purgatory at St. Francis of Assisi church in Belmont before the ceremony. Evidence, once again, of the tie between the Catholic and Rada beliefs. Click on the link and imagine yourself sitting in the tent tonight, singing and clapping until the drums are turned down.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Old African Proverb

Old African proverb: Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle…when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Antoine Family Reunion Survey Results

Antoine Family Reunion Survey Results
The survey was posted on facebook (105 fans and 181 active users) and distributed by email to 74 individuals, many of whom are also on facebook. A few responses were also collected by telephone for those without facebook and email.
Responses: 36
                        16 from Canada
                        13 from Trinidad
                        5 from the US
                        1 from the UK
                        1 from New Zealand

1.      Will you be attending any of the Antoine Family Reunion events in August 2012?

Yes: 24 (68.6%)

No: 6 (17.1%)

Undecided: 5 (14.3%)

Skipped question: 1

2.      Are you interested in attending a classy, evening event (date to be determined)?

Yes: 23 (74.2%)

No: 1 (3.2%)

Undecided: 7 (22.6%)

Skipped question: 5

3.      What are you willing to pay for a classy, evening event?

USD$75 or TT$ 450 for a 3 course meal with an open bar at a hotel: 20 (64.5%)

USD$50 or TT$ 300 for a 3 course meal with a cash bar at a hotel: 5 (16.1%)

Not sure: 6 (19.4%)

Skipped question: 5

4.      Will you be going to the beach with the Antoine family (date to be determined)?

Yes: 22 (71.0%)

No: 4 (12.9%)

Undecided: 5 (16.1%)

Skipped question: 5

5.      Will you be attending the Traditional Rada ceremony on Thursday, August 2, 2012 in Belmont?

Yes: 20 (64.5%)

No: 4 (12.9%)

Undecided: 7 (22.6%)

Skipped question: 5

6.      Will you be attending the Traditional Rada ceremony on Friday, August 3, 2012 in Belmont?

Yes: 19 (61.3%)

No: 5 (16.1%)

Undecided: 7 (22.6%)

Skipped question: 5

Monday, 17 October 2011

Trinidad and Tobago Best Tourist Destination!

We are not surprised that Trinidad and Tobago is the world’s best tourist spot and favourite cultural destination for 2012! If you have never been or it has been awhile since you were last there, why not join us next year at the Antoine Family Reunion and see the best for yourself! And if you want culture, we have a unique experience in Belmont to offer you!

Read the full story here

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Last Call - Antoine Family Reunion Survey

Last call to complete the survey. Thank you to the 34 family members who have given us their opinions. The results will be analysed and published on Tuesday. We still need to hear from the rest of you because your view matters to us all. It only takes 3 minutes. Please click and submit now. Thanks.


Saturday, 15 October 2011

Santeria - the Cuban Version

Terry Hoyte

Introducing, Terry Hoyte, son of our steelpan pioneer, Dudley Smith. I spoke to Terry a couple days ago and he reminded me of one of his previous roles – ‘skining’ the goat after it was sacrificed. The skin was then stretched on the outside wall of the tent to dry. The dried skin was then used to make a drum. Terry is ready to resume that role next August. Any of you younger Hoytes on facebook ready to help him?

Thursday, 13 October 2011


Candomble - The Brazilian version

Posted on Facebook by Ifabimi Aladanu:

It is important to observe that Candomblé is divided into groups and subgroups at last are ethnic groups properly. There is the Candomblé de Angola, de Congo and Candomblé de Moxicongo of Bantoo traditions. There is the Candomblé of Ketu, the Nago-Egba (from this video, with a Esu song) and Nago-Xamba traditions of nago subgroups. There is the Candomblé of Jeje and it is subdivided too (Mahi, Dahomey, Modubi, Savalu).
There are also traditions of drums that are subdivided into groups and there is a Batuque traditions, Tambor de Mina and Mina Jeje too.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Why We Don't Eat Lamb

Our family is not supposed to eat lamb. Legend has it that the Dangbe (serpent) temple caught fire; there was fire everywhere and the serpent Dangbé in despair, saw the ram fleeing from the flames. Dangbe wrapped himself around the ram`s neck and both were saved, so Dangbé vowed never to eat the ram`s meat. Thanks to Ifabimi Aladanu, our new relative in Brazil, for sharing this legend.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Sunday, 9 October 2011


This weekend the Antoines in the United States are celebrating Columbus Day while the Antoines in Canada are enjoying Thanksgiving. If we want to go back to our roots and have a more Rada-like long weekend we can have an Abobo, which is a small, private ceremony. It can be done to give thanks, bless the home, ask for grace or obtain ‘clearance’ in times of trouble. Usually the hubono (high priest), vodunsis (dancers), family and a few friends are invited. But warn your neighbours because ‘possession’ does occur and the dancers will dance.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Antoine Family Reunion Survey

You know you’re NOT an Antoine when … you don’t give your opinion in the Antoine Family Reunion survey. So far we have only received 23 responses. We need more opinions to make the results valid and reliable. Please complete the survey now. It only takes 3 minutes. Thank you very much.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Asen - Family Altar

Fon people of Benin own numerous Asen, or family altars made from iron. They are kept in a small building in the courtyard of the family house and tended to the eldest woman in the family. There is an Asen for each ancestor, which serves as line of communication between the living and the dead. After complex memorial ceremonies an Asen would be consecrated to the ancestor and regular offerings are made and recognition rituals performed.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Happy Birthday Twin Cousins!

Back in October 1942, Henry (son of Abojev Zahwenu/Robert Antoine) and Camilla Antoine welcomed 2 grandchildren 2 days apart. The girl was born on October 6th and the boy arrived on October 8th at Port-of-Spain General Hospital. The girl, daughter of Empress, was named Camilla after her grandmother. The boy, son of Sedley, was named, Henry Lewis after his grandfather. Both were baptized on the same day! Happy Birthday to our twin cousins Camilla and Henry!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Antoine Family Reunion Survey

Hey family, your opinion is very important to us and we want to hear from you as we contiune our plans for the family reunion. Please complete the survey below. It's only 10 questions and should only take about 5 minutes. Thank you

Antoine Family Reunion Survey

Saturday, 1 October 2011

McDonald's or Cow Heel Soup?

We heard about food concerns from family members who will make their first visit to Trinidad and a number of you asked us about McDonald's. So they are back on the island, but take a look at the long line up. You decide - long wait for McDonald's or cow heel soup?

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Ten Months to Go!

Ten months to our great family reunion! Please let any Antoines you know about the reunion and ask them to like the page. Also, according to Facebook we have about 30 active users who still haven't liked the page. You know who you are ... please like us today.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

This is your history!

This is your history!

Shot in Ghana, Barbados and London this film illustrates the ‘Trading Triangle’. It uses epic cinematography and visual play to make the experience of slavery relevant to a new generation. The film is part of the permanent London Sugar and Slavery gallery at the Museum of London in Docklands.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Return to Benin!

If you're interested, you can return to Benin where the King will offer you citizenship and land!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Photo from Sedley Antoine's Funeral in the Trinidad Guardian

Photo from Uncle Sedley's funeral which appeared in the Trinidad Guardian on April 25, 2001. Thanks to Patsy Avis for sharing this with us.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Orisha Suite

The Orisha Suite celebrates the rituals of enslaved Africans, who, after being stolen from their homeland and forced into slavery by colonial masters, were able to preserve their heritage and identity through song and dance ceremonies. The story is narrated by a little boy who observes members of his slave community, one late night, in Sunday worship by the ocean shore.

Full story here.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Last Train to San Fernando

In 1876 the Trinidad Chronicle quoted “Guinea-women of Belmont” who were “Radas – from near Dahomey” describing the newly introduced railway locomotive as “a thing of fear and mystery,” and called it the “Beke Debble-horse.”  The Beke Debble-horses were eventually phased out in 1965.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Traditional African Healing

Today as I think of my sister convalescing, I wondered how our Abojevi Zahwenu/Robert Antoine may have helped her. He was a diviner or traditional healer and assisted many in the community. He was even prosecuted for it (see May 13th post).  I learned from Francis Morean that there was an ordinance as early as 1832 to prevent the use of herbal medicines. On the other hand, doctors were legally permitted to receive payment from plantation owners to torture enslaved Africans!

Patsy Avis

Pretty in plaid, Patsy Avis (4th generation) in September 1972. Unfortunately, she is recovering from surgery so send her your prayers.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

The Millingtons

The Millingtons - Empress (3rd generation and now 87 years old) and husband Elwin who passed away 8 years ago

1872 Trinidad Chronicle Article

As reported by the Trinidad Chronicle in 1872 describing Rada worship, “within half a mile of town, usually on the Laventille hills and on some occasions they are joined by a few baptised men, calling themselves Christians. It is said that these people-to all appearances a quiet, simple, harmless lot-maintain a sort of chief priest or bishop on the hill, in idleness, who dresses decently, in cloth clothes, and comfortable house, well stocked with good furniture.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

A Son Thanks to Naete

In spite of having a reputed 18 children, our Abojevi Zahwenu/Robert Antoine prayed to the diety, Naeta, for a son. It’s reported that his wife became pregnant and gave birth to a son they called Henry. His African name was Dewendo and he was born in 1878. We do have to thank Naeta for Henry because he was the family member who provided researchers and scholars with the vast majority of information we are finally discovering today.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Strange but true!

Sometime in 1900 there was a severe drought and a sacrifice was held on Belle Eau Road. There was a drummer named Smart and during the sacrifice he prayed and sang a special song which called for rain. Smart gazed at the sky, then there was blood from his eyes. Soon it became hazy, there was thunder and before long there was a heavy downpour of rain!  There is narrow lane called Smart Place at the corner of Erthig and Belmont Circular Roads which was named in honour of this Rada.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Antoine Family Remembers 9/11

Let’s take a moment to remember the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago and all victims of 9/11.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

More Rada Music

Thanks to the persecution of African traditions in Trinidad, we had to adapt our music to avoid being targeted. The 1888 law against drumming caused our ancestors to lessen the sound of the large drum (tambour) and emphasize the smaller drums and iron according to Rada researcher Kwaku Senah. He concludes that “the advantages of the drum as a means of broadcasting and identifying a Rada centre of hospitality and group solidarity was lost.” Listen to our new offering of Rada singing and drumming.
Rada Music

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Uncle Sedley and Elwin

Uncle Sedley and brother-in-law, Elwin, looking dapper in 1984 at Deborah’s (Elwin’s daughter) wedding.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Breast Ironing

Yes, you read it correctly. Breast ironing is mainly practiced in Cameroon, but it is also used by mothers in Benin to prevent teen pregnancy.  It’s hard not to judge, but let’s try to view this video knowing that these mothers have limited options.

Monday, 5 September 2011

The Sweetest Chenette

Chenette for sale! We had the sweetest chenette and I’m sure it was because the latrine (outhouse) sat right under the tree providing fresh, continuing supply of manure!  Abojevi Zahwenu/Robert Antoine’s son, Henry, and daughter-in-law, Camilla, documented their sale of the fruit. 

The first entry on this page was from late August to early September 1940 and the last in 1953. Sadly, the tree is no longer in the yard so next year we’ll have to get our chenette from the market.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Extented State of Emergency in T&T

The bad news - The State of Emergency in Trinidad & Tobago was extended to 3 months. The good news - The curfew hours were reduced to 11 pm to 4 am. The long term view: Not good according to this criminologist.

Click here for full story.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Back to School!

“Knowledge is power.  Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” - Kofi Annan (Ghanaian diplomat, 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations, 2001 Nobel Peace Prize

Good luck to all of you starting or returning to school this week!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Antoines at 2006 World Cup Game

With today’s 1-0 win over Bermuda, looks like these soca warriors supporters better dust their fan gear off and get ready for Brazil. In the middle is Henry Antoine with sons Andy (on left) and Sedley (on right) at one of the Soca Warriors game in Germany at the 2006 World Cup. Andy was a professional Canadian football player with the Montreal Allouettes. Henry is Uncle Sedley’s son

Thursday, 1 September 2011

September Ceremony, Part II

The children of the family and the surrounding area looked forward to the September ceremony mainly because of the treats. This was a ceremony held for the children and it’s only fitting that the way to a kid’s heart is through sweets. You may also recall that our African traditions are intertwined with our Roman Catholic faith so a few days before the family had a special mass at the church.

St. Francis Church

The African name for the September vodunu is E’minona. But I must say that I really don’t remember this or any other African names for the 5 sacrifices per year in the heyday.
We wore white on Thursday and blue on Friday. Likewise, the baskets with the treats were blue and white. Why? Well these are the colours of the Christian saint St. Ann. The vodun equivalent for St. Ann is AGBE. Remember from the Vodun creation story that was posted on August 23, AGBE is one of a pair of twins who inhabits the sea and is responsible for the water.


Like in the other ceremonies, a cow, goats and chickens are sacrificed. In September, pigeons and guinea fowls are added to the menu. I’m sure I ate both as a child, but have no memory of what these birds taste like. But since AGBE is the goddess of the sea and water, why didn’t we have fish?
Guinea Fowl

However, the highlight of the evening is when one or two of the vodunsis (dancers) dances with a pair of baskets. This is the sign that your basket of treats is just a few minutes away. The kids lined up outside the vodunkwe (a small room a stone’s throw away from the tent where the drumming, singing and dancing is going on). I don’t know what happened after I received my basket because I was too busy enjoying all the homemade sweets!
Sugar Cake

September Ceremony - Part I

It’s the first Thursday of September and in the good old days we would be soon taking part in the September vodonu. The various Tantys, Mamas and cousins in the days leading up to the September ceremony would have busy.  Some will be making sugar cane (my personal favourite), paw paw balls, tollom and other sweets. Others would have braided palm-like leaves to decorate the tent (called azan). I have memories of making baskets from bristol board and I just finished making these not so great examples for your viewing pleasure. Tomorrow we’ll have more details. Do you have any memories of the September ceremony?

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Happy Independence to all Trinis local and abroad!

Happy Independence to all Trinis local and abroad! Above you see the lowering of the Union Jack and below is the first time the Trinidad and Tobago flag was raised in 1962.

Hey local family, how are you spending your Independence day tomorrow?

Monday, 29 August 2011

North American Premiere of Calypso Rose: Lioness of the Jungle

Hey Toronto area Antoines here’s your chance to see the North American premiere of Calypso Rose: Lioness of the Jungle on September 7 (Studio Theatre, York Quay Centre, 235 Queens Quay West). At 6 pm there will be a free opening fete and awards ceremony. The screening will begin at 8 pm and followed by a Q&A with Rose live and in person. The film was set in Trinidad and Tobago, New York, Paris and Benin. It was also showed at the Cannes Film Festival on May 19th. Tickets are $25.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Notting Hill Carnival

A people's art is the genesis of their freedom – slogan of Notting Hill's indoor carnival from 1959.
The carnival was started by a fellow Trinidadian named Claudia Jones (nee Cumberbatch). Claudia was born in Belmont in 1915, immigrated to the US in 1924. She joined the Communist Party in 1936 (illegal at that time), the FBI started a file on her in 1942 and she was eventually convicted and deported to the UK (much to Trinidad’s relief).  

She continued her activism in the UK. In 1959 she organized the 1st of 6 indoor carnivals (with the above slogan) as a direct result of the Notting Hill riots. She did not live to see the evolution of the indoor carnivals into the Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s largest street festival.  She died in 1964 at 49 and today a plaque honours her contribution to Notting Hill Carnival. Notting Hill Carnival held today and tomorrow (under more security than the recent Royal wedding). And tomorrow our beautiful and qualified June Robinson will be representing the Antoines at the Leeds parade!

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Dedicated to the Antoines Experiencing SOE and Hurricane Irene

Dedicated to the 28 Antoines who are on lockdown due to the State of Emergency and the 11 in the US who are also on lockdown due to Hurricane Irene.  Please be safe and follow all official instructions. Remember we already predicted curfew babies and now we’ll add Hurricane Irene babies. Enjoy Barry White!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Uncle Patrick

Uncle Patrick and wife, Roslyn. Undated photo but was probably taken in Montreal, Canada.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Trinidad 28

According to Facebook, 28 of us on the Reunion page live in Port-of-Spain. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the rest of your family. Stay safe. Stay strong.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

6 Degrees of Seperation with National Security

Given the current state of affairs in our beloved Trinidad and Tobago, it’s a perfect time to note our 6 degrees of separation with national security. It’s complicated but former Minister of National Security Martin R. Joseph’s mother had 3 children with our Uncle Kellman. So I guess we can call him a step-cousin

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Vodun Creation Story

This is not Adam and Eve or the Big Bang theory. It's the Vodun creation story*.
MAWU-LISA, the Great Creator, is a being with two faces. The first is MAWU, a Goddess, whose eyes are the moon. The other is LISA, a God, whose eyes are the sun. MAWU is calm and cool like the moon, and LISA, is hot and ruthless like the sun.  
Since MAWU-LISA is both God and Goddess, MAWU became pregnant and had a total of 9 children; including 2 pairs of twins (Dahomey/Benin has the highest percentage of twins in the world). The first to be born were twins, a God named DA ZODJI, and a Goddess called NYOHWE ANANU. The second birth was SOGBO, who like his parent was God and Goddess in one. The third birth was also twins, a God, AGBE, and a Goddess, NAETE. The fourth to be born was AGE, a God. The fifth GU, also a God: GU is all body. He has no head, instead of a head, a great sword is coming out of His neck. His trunk is of stone. The sixth birth was not a spiritual being, but DJO, air, and is needed to create the breath of life. The seventh to be born was LEGBA; MAWU said LEGBA (this was our ancestor’s favourite) was to be her spoiled child God, because he was the youngest.

One day the Goddess face of MAWU-LISA assembled all the children in order to divide the kingdom of the Universe. To the first twins, DA ZODJI and NYOHWE ANANU, She gave all the riches and told them to go and inhabit the earth. She said the earth was for them. MAWU said to SOGBO, that he was to remain in Heaven, because he was both God and Goddess. She told AGBE and NAETE to go and inhabit the sea and command the waters. To AGE, she gave command of the animals and birds and told him to live in the bush (forest) as a hunter. To GU, MAWU said he was her strength, and that was why he was not given a head like the others. GU is a blacksmith God who makes weapons for war and tools to build. Thanks to him, the earth would not always remain wild bush. GU taught men about warfare and how to build houses and farms. MAWU told DJO to live in space between the earth and sky. He was assigned the life-span of man. Thanks to him also, his brothers and sisters would be invisible. This is why another name for Vodun (Gods and Goddesses) is DJO the Invisible Ones.

When MAWU said this to the children, she gave the DA ZODJI and NYOHWE ANANU the language which was to be used on earth, and took away their memory of the language of Heaven. She gave SOGBO the language he would speak, and remove the memory of the parent language. The same was done for AGBE and NAETE, AGE, and GU. But DJO was given the language of men.
Next she said to LEGBA, "You are my youngest child, and as you are spoiled, and have never known punishment, I cannot turn you over to your brothers. I will keep you with me always. Your work will be to visit all the Kingdoms, and to give me an account of what happens." So LEGBA knows all the languages known to his brothers and sisters. He also knows the language MAWU speaks and LEGBA is MAWU's spokesman. If one of the siblings wishes to speak, he/she must give the message to LEGBA, for they no longer know how to address MAWU-LISA. That is why LEGBA is everywhere and probably who our Abojevi Zahwenu/Robert Antoine favours this diety.
* Research by Tash Wilson

Monday, 22 August 2011

State of Emergency and Reunion

We, like you, are worried about the ‘declaration of the limited state of emergency’ in Trinidad and how that will affect our family union next August. At this time it’s too early to tell, but we’ll be paying very close attention to the situation. None of us want to be in an unsafe environment, but remember this is for 15 days, but will be reviewed daily. Fingers crossed …

Sunday, 21 August 2011

State of Emergency Declared in Trinidad

BREAKING-NEWS-State-of-Emergency Declared in Trindadl

Tobago Anyone?

A number of you have asked when the reunion will be held?  Remember to save the week of July 30, 2012 for the family. We posted a tentative schedule on August 2. Here's the update - the week will culminate with a well-deserved retreat to Pigeon Point, Tobago for those we want more of the Antoine love.

Listen to the sound of peace in paradise.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Soca Warriors vs. India's Blue Tigers

Soca Warriors take on India's Blue Tigers in a friendly match on Sunday as they prepare for the World Cup. We don't have any relatives on the team, but we do have some talent in the family. I won't mention any names because I will forget someone, but you know who you are!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Benin Looting by British Troops

Benin Art Looted by UK troops

The current UK riots reminded me of the Benin expedition of 1897 by the UK. The British troops captured, looted and burned Benin City, bringing an end to the kingdom. Palaces of chiefs were looted and destroyed, and finally on the third day the king’s palace was deliberately set ablaze Most of the booty was retained by the expedition but about 2500 religious artifacts and artworks were sent to England. The art was later auctioned in Paris to raise funds to pay for the expedition. Most of the Benin bronzes went to purchasers in Germany, but a large portion is in London at the British Museum. And no, the British government will not return the art because as Cameron said “it would set a dangerous precedent for other priceless cultural items in the British Museum.” Remember some believe our Abojevi Zahwenu/Robert Antoine was a prince and therefore his family may have lost art as well.

World's Sexiest Accent?

World's Sexiset Accents? Is Trinidad on the list? Click here to find out.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

CD Fundraiser

A couple of weeks ago 1 relative suggested that we sell CDs of our Belmont Rada music as a fundraiser for the family reunion. However, only 3 people indicated an interest. But before we ditch this fundraising idea let us know if you’re interested in purchasing approximately 40 minutes of great drumming.  Click for a sample

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Birthday Girl

We don’t have a nickname for her because she defies words. She dances through life and her house is cramped with love. She always has time for joy, yet is a champion of the underdog and troubled. She always has money for fun. Cool mom of 3 and even cooler grandmother of 2. She is a connector and that’s why 90% of you are on the reunion page. She is celebrating a birthday on Wednesday. Recognize this face?

Monday, 15 August 2011

Cocktails Anyone?

The Wongs have their own cocktail, but we’ll do one better. The next 4 family members who like the page will be our guest for cocktails at Prime Restaurant in Port-of-Spain. This is also a formal invitation for the 2 new members for cocktails, Cordell Birdman Warren and Kevon Terry Hoyte.

Be our guest at Prime Restaurant in Port-of-Spain.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Looking for More Antoines to Join Online Family

I admit that envy is not a good trait but I’m jealous of the Canadian Wongs. They meet every 3 years and rotate cities. They gathered in Toronto this weekend for a family reunion and 1100 of them attended! Giving them the honour of having the largest such event in history. They drank their own cocktail (contest was held) and was even given their own coat of arms. And we can’t even get 100 Antoines online! If you are still browsing on the page, but haven’t liked it, please do so today. If you already like us, ask your other relatives to also like us. Let’s try to get at least 100 Antoines by the end of this week!

Welcome New family Members

A few new Antoines are now following the blog. Welcome! I hope you find it informative..

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Friday, 12 August 2011

Rest and Reflect

One translation of the word Vodun is “rest to draw the water,” from the Fon verb vo “to rest” and dun “to draw water.” Therefore remain calm when facing difficulties in one’s path. In Vodun we are encouraged to take time for reflection. For example, local women sit quietly by the side of the spring or river before collecting the daily water. Take the time this weekend to rest and reflect.

River in the Pendjari National Park in Benin

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Jah Love!

Marcus Garvey who is viewed as a prophet of Jah, was a keen proponent of the back to Africa movement urging us to return to our ancestral homeland of Africa. However, Haile Selassie said that "we must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community."

Kenny (Empress’ grandson) hugging Portia (Miss Sybil’s last child).

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Bessoribe Tribal Scars

This is not our 'tribe' but here's how one tribe in Benin, the Bessoribe, distinguish themselves through scarification. Let's not judge. Keep an open mind and think of why tribal scarification was and is important to those who practice it. Be forwarned, it's bloody.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Our Tribal Scars?

Today we’ll continue with Tasha’s research. If we are descendants of the Pedah or Wxedah group, you should note that this tribe has distinguished tribal scars: 10 scars - 2 on each cheek, 2 on the forehead and 2 on each temple. We found no mention of Abojevi having any tribal scars. But found one record of his wife, Dovi, which stated that “her face was marked in the genuine African way.” Anyone willing to get their tribal scars?

Monday, 8 August 2011

Another Interpretation of Abojevi Zahwenu’s name

Thanks to Tasha’s research, here’s another interpretation of Abojevi Zahwenu’s name. It should be AGBODJEVI ZANWXENOU and is a greeting typical of an ethnic group called Pedah or Wxédah. The whole praise is "Dèdon Agbodjèvi Zanwxènou" and it was an expression of respect and honour. DEDON AGBODJEVI means the one who has the power of saying prayers (in other words priest or priestess) to the deity Agbo.  ZANXWENOU means a person from Zanwhe, a small village in Ouidah. We can translate the phrase as “the priest of the deity AGBO from Zanwhe” adding support to the theory that our ancestor was from the ‘priestly’ class.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Emancipation 2012 Outfit?

Looking at the Emancipation photos, it’s obvious that participants wear African outfits. We are able to trace our roots back to Dahomey (now Benin). Dahomeans were once described as “all lean and lank, and all supremely hideous. They wear nose and ear rings of metal and as little clothing as decency permits.”  Next year Emancipation Day will be right in the middle of our family reunion and we should attend the procession wearing as little as possible. Who’s with us?
circa 1900

Amazon Warriors (see April 8th post).  Photo taken before 1900.

Photo taken in 1893

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Emancipation 2011 Photos

We asked for a volunteer to get us Emancipation photos and here are cousin Leeba’s pics.

Click here to enjoy!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Happy Birthday Uncle Clifford!

Happy birthday Uncle Clifford aka Cocky! Wishing you all the very best on your 93rd birthday on Saturday. Uncle Clifford currently lives in Philadelphia with his wife Evelyn. Here’s this branch of the family tree: Abojevi Zahwenu/Robert Antoine → Louisa Antoine→ Anthony Baptiste (photo posted on March 18)→ Clifford Baptiste

Thursday, 4 August 2011

August Ceremony, Drums

Our ceremonies are usually 2 days long, starting on Thursday, a sacred day for us, and continuing on Friday. Yesterday we focussed on the food at the August ceremony. Today, we’ll briefly discuss the drumming. The drums in the morning begin around 6 and finish at 8 am. The evening drums typically start at 7 and end at 10 pm. But let the drums speak for themselves.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

August Ceremony

In the good old days we would be celebrating the August ceremony on the first Thursday of August – and this year that is August 4th. No one remembers the African name for this ceremony but it used to be quite grand and was an anniversary for all the vodunsis/dancers. As expected the vodunsis had a prominent role. In the morning they were dressed in white while the animals were sacrificed. The animals sacrificed would include a calf, goats. mocoys (land turtles) and fowls (chickens). The Rada never scarified nor ate sheep and pigs. Refer to the April 26 ad 27 post for more information on the drumming, dancing and singing which usually stops around 9 am. Today we’ll focus on the food.  

The breakfast is called abobow and includes accra (ground black eyes peas, balled and deep fried), stewed black eye peas, rice and bread, all drizzled with olive oil.  The midday meal is called amewa and we enjoy a dish called herre (cock and hen boiled separately, broth used to make cookoo, flatten cookoo on plate with chicken on top), regular cookoo and the meat from the sacrificed animals.  Dinner is callaloo, meat and rice. Yum, yum!

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