Folklore in Trinidad and Tobago

Crystal RamsumairStarred Page By Crystal Ramsumair, 29th Jul 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2.mywmui/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Culture>General

Folklore in my country is highly superstitious and some of them are frightening. Here we look at a few ...don't get too scared reading this.

Brief History.

Trinidad and Tobago is an island off the coast of Venezuela and south Grenada in the Lesser Antilles. The island was re- discovered by Christoper Columbus in the year 1498 on his third voyage. Prior to his discovery the island was home to the Carib and Arawak people.

Trinidadians and Tobagonians carry on an ancient belief in the folklore of our land. Folklore is the beliefs customs and stories of a community, passed on through the generations by word of mouth.

Douens.( Dwens )

One of the more fascinating of these folklore is the story of the douen. The douen is said to be the lost soul of children who have died before being baptized. They are said to roam the earth forever. Stories of douens are popular especially in the rural areas of Trinidad. They are also said to come by people's houses crying and whimpering. Children who are lured by douens are said to believe that they are children as well. They roam the land in pursuit of children who have not been christened or baptized like themselves.

How to recognize a douen.
The douen is said to wear a large floppy hat and to be just like a little child. The only different attribute is that the douen's feet are faced backward. The douen also makes a mesmerizing and distinguished whooping sound at night. { True story...I've heard it but cannot tell if it is a douen because I haven't seen it.}

Although considered a myth there have been actual encounters of douens in rural areas of Trinidad according to some children. These reports are accordingly from Piparo , Penal and Barrakpore which are rural and forested areas. Hunters also tell of the douen's modest side as it seeks to protect the animals being hunted by distracting the hunters with it's loud whooping sound. { Also true as I have heard these stories myself from different individuals.}

Folklore teaches that you must not call your child's name out loud in an open space in rural areas as the douen learns the child's name and will call him/ her as if knowing them.

Papa Bois.

Papa Bois means father or protector.
Definitive of his name Papa Bois resides in the forest and folklore tells of him protecting unwary animals from hunters and also caring for the sick ones. He has the hooves of an animal and a rustic appearance.His body is completely covered with fur. He is said to be able to run faster than a deer.

Master of the forest.

With horns sprouting from his head Papa Bois is known as the Forest keeper. It is said that if one encounters Papa Bois one must be polite to him and refrain from staring at his hooves. You must utter a polite greeting to him for example " Bonjour, vieux papa,"
which means good day old father.

Soucouyant.

This folklore character is most dangerous. She travels in a ball of fire. Disguised as an old woman, she sucks the blood of your tender body parts including your arms and legs. You will know when she sucks you for she leaves a big blueish blackish mark on your body, where she sucked your blood. She needs the blood to trade to the devil who lives in the silk cotton tree, for evil powers in return.

She can be conquered.

The soucouyant can fit through any crack including a key hole. Traditionally if it is suspected that a soucouyant has sucked you, there are ways to catch her. You must throw a handful of rice or salt in front of your doorway. When she encounters this in front of your doorway she must pick up every grain before proceeding. Hopefully you can keep her there until the sun comes up. You will catch her out of her skin and must beat her mercilessly. Keeping a crucifix will also protect you from her evils.

These are some traditional folklore tales that I have heard from a very tender age and I hope that you do enjoy.

Tags

Baptism, Blood, Caribbean, Children, Folklore, Forest, Horns, Hunters, Islands, Lesser Antilles, Myth, Stories, Tales

Meet the author

author avatar Crystal Ramsumair
I am from a small island called Trinidad and Tobago. I love writing and i take it seriously.Most of my work is straight from the heart whilst others require some soul searching.

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author avatar Crystal Ramsumair
30th Jul 2011 (#)

Thank you Mark Gordon Brown for moderating my work and of course for the star...

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
30th Jul 2011 (#)

Great information on something most of the world has not heard of.

It sounds like the douen was made up to scare people into baptizing their kids.

I have added this to Google +

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author avatar Crystal Ramsumair
30th Jul 2011 (#)

Thank you Mark.

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30th Jul 2011 (#)






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author avatar Val Mills
30th Jul 2011 (#)

Please keep writing these wonderful articles about your country for us.

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author avatar Valerie L Mckay
30th Jul 2011 (#)

Interesting read...I love to read about different countries folklore. thanks for sharing....

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author avatar Delicia Powers
30th Jul 2011 (#)

Folklore has always fascinated me, just a wonderful article, rich in history and mystery, my favorite things:0)...great work Crystal!!!

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author avatar Crystal Ramsumair
30th Jul 2011 (#)

Thank you to all my friends.

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author avatar Songbird B
30th Jul 2011 (#)

Another Star Page and a fascinating read..Great work, Crystal..

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author avatar Crystal Ramsumair
30th Jul 2011 (#)

Thank you songbird for stopping by.

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author avatar kaylar
1st Aug 2011 (#)

Welcome Trini! I am from Jamaica. We have a similar bit of folklore as Soucouyant, ours is the old hag, and the same method of capture is possible.

We also have a rolling calf and duppies...(Duppies have their heads on backwards).

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author avatar Crystal Ramsumair
1st Aug 2011 (#)

Thank you Kylar for reading we also have duppies they live in the silk cotton tree along with the devil .

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author avatar Denise O
1st Aug 2011 (#)

What a darn interesting read. I love to learn new things about others cultures. This is well written and presented. Congrats on the star page, it is well deserved. Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Crystal Ramsumair
1st Aug 2011 (#)

Thank you Denise.

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author avatar Carol Kinsman
2nd Aug 2011 (#)

This stuff must scare the heck out of little kids! I love it that you share interesting stuff about your country. Thank you, Crystal.

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author avatar jayababy
2nd Aug 2011 (#)

Great information and very well narrated, Crystal STAR!!

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author avatar Crystal Ramsumair
2nd Aug 2011 (#)

Thank you Carol and jayababy...and it does scare the kids.

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author avatar Rathnashikamani
14th Oct 2011 (#)

A very remarkable analysis on the folklore of Trinidad and Tobago.

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author avatar Crystal Ramsumair
3rd Nov 2011 (#)

Thank you Rath...

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