Quadrille lessons, maypole dancing and thatch work demonstrations were only some of the “old-time thing” displaying the sights and smells at George Town Primary School last week.
On Friday, students and teachers of the school got a chance to learn about Caymanian culture from visiting local heritage ambassadors.
According to Marie Martin, the school’s principal, the activities and events were all part of the school’s culture day celebrations that kicked off on Commonwealth Day, March 13, with a national costume parade around the school grounds.
“We decided to explore the culture and give our students an opportunity to explore and experience different ways of how Caymanians lived long ago,” said Ms. Martin.
Last Friday’s culture day kicked off with Pastor Winston Rose and his wife Hyacinth explaining the importance of worship as part of Cayman’s Cultural heritage.
Swanky band member Paula Scott and folk singer Nayil Arana, along with the children, got things moving along with some traditional Cayman music.
Cultural mainstays such as wompers (old-time sandals made of old tires and thatch rope), fish and fritters, a catboat, quadrille dancing, peppermint candy making, storytelling, thatch work demonstrations, hopscotch, marbles, skip rope, limbo and more were celebrated by students and teachers dressed in traditional Cayman dress and hats.
In the storytelling room, senior Rennie Barnes told the children all about the mosquito “Smoke pan” that was once used to keep bugs away, conch shell blowing, and “ground provisions” such as cassava, pumpkin, yams, sugar cane, breadfruit and coconuts that Caymanians were able to cultivate to feed their families in days gone by.
In another classroom, local expert Marge Quinland taught students the one-two-three steps of quadrille – a traditional dance for people of the island back then.
Grade one students enthusiastically asked questions about items made from Cayman silver thatch on display, including baskets, brooms and shoes, learning about how these were made and what they were used for by Caymanians long ago.
The sweetest part of the day for the children was joining Rose Myles in making peppermint candy.
They also got a chance to enjoy a fry fish and fritters from Cayman Traditional Arts.