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Mas Bands History

The key ingredient of the Festival

Mas bands are the vital most element of the Toronto Caribana festival where attractive and cool thermal costumes and get overs meets with the synchronized dance, rhythmic music, and enthusiastic spectators around in the streets of Toronto. Mas is a short form of Masquerade which has an old history from 1800 and associated with the liberation and uplifting of slavery in the Caribbean.

History of Masquerade Bands

Upon getting freedom the slaves used to mimic and make fun of their masters by copying their acts as an act of freedom so gradually with the passage of time Mas dance has got a great significance in African Culture which is still observed in many African cultural festivals like Toronto Caribana in fact it is the prominent most element of Toronto Caribbean and taken very serious as get-ups and costumes for Mas Band performances are prepared with great dedication, attention and series of rehearsals to present the perfect display of mas performance at the big days of the festival. Earlier the costumes used to be made by bones and feathers and colored in different colors to make them distinctive and tunes used to be played with tin drums and bamboo sticks.

The Mas Band Parade

Carnival Bands or masquerade Bands are groups and organizations of people who use to pay money to get themselves with same and alike designer costumes representing the uniform color code while making it easy to distinguish between several other Masquerade bands. After having their particular Mas Bands the participants rehearse and practice for weeks to bring perfection to their performances. The parade consists of dancing on Steelpan and Soca along with DJ trucks rolling on the streets with the parade throughout the parade route.

Evaluation and significance of Mas Bands

Besides carnival and festival, Toronto Caribana is also an exhibition and competition of colorful mas bands. Competition in a way that judges are sitting on various checkpoints from the marching route of the parade to analyze and judge Mas Bands to reward them with good points to make it easy for them to gain prominent slots in most beautiful bands. Winning mas bands is considered a great honor as it is more than just an entertainment festival but it has deep roots from the heritage of overall African and Caribbean culture so it is a great honor to get winning spot in all bands.

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