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On January 6, 2010, thousands of Jamaicans will travel to St. Elizabeth to partake in the annual Maroon Festival in Accompong. The day usually starts with the blowing of the abeng (conch shell) and a ceremony paying respects to Maroon ancestors at the Peace Cave, which is thought to be the site of the signing of the 18th century treaty between the Maroons and the British. This is followed by feasting, dancing, and traditional Myal drumming. It culminates in a parade and street dance that continues throughout the night.
This celebration also commemorates the birthday of Captain Cudjoe, a Maroon warrior, who defeated the English army and later brokered a peace treaty with the British in 1738, which guaranteed them freedom and significant land holdings. Included in this historic treaty are the founding principles that, to this day, govern the day-to-day activities of the people of Accompong, a nation within a nation.
Director of Culture in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Sydney Bartley, has underlined the economic value and significance of this festival for the country’s educational or cultural tourism, suggesting that the various maroon communities could recreate and sell Maroon artifacts as well as other “heritage products.” However, he states that the Ministry is working with Maroons to ensure that commercial interests do not erode the authenticity of the festivals.
For full article, see http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/news-20690–9-9–.html
Photo of Accompong Maroon celebration from http://www.flickr.com/photos/amiblog/2180771823/