Players from the Lord Rama team get ready for the motorcade. Sarwan Ramoutar, left, plays Luchman; Shiva Ramoutar, second from left, plays Ram; and Soriya Pollard, plays Sita. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

The First Felicity Ramleela and Cultural Group took a bold step on Monday night and staged a Ramleela motorcade through the community. 

Sundar Jookoo, spokesman for the organisation. said due to the COVID-19 restrictions and the current State of Emergency, the group decided to take Ramleela to the people.

“We are trying to keep the culture alive. This the first of its kind,” Jookoo said.  

“The past two years has taken a toll on the people, the Ramleela players and the culture. We have decided to stage a parade of the characters throughout the community, accompanied by the playing of devotional songs,” he told Guardian Media.

Jookoo said only eight vehicles were allowed in the motorcade and the organisation did not allow persons or other vehicles to take part in the motorcade. He said’

“We want people to follow the COVID restrictions—stay at home, stand by your gate and look at the parade,” he said.

Jookoo noted that Ramleela also has a deep social element where community members spend time at the Ramleela ground bonding with each other.

He said the parade was a one-off event, but the group welcomes requests from other communities that may want to see the parade.

73- year-old Harry Persad, who has been playing Ramleela for the past 65-years, said he was happy to portray Rawan for the last 35 years. Persad took over the role following the passing of Lutchman Maharaj.

“He taught me all the moves, the dances that Rawan did,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chaguanas Mayor Faaiq Mohammed told Guardian Media because of the depressed economy and State of Emergency restrictions, Divali 2021 was not going to be bright for many.  Mayor Mohammed praised the group for coming up with the initiative to put some hope in the eyes of burgesses.

The Ramleela parade began at the Green Park Recreation Ground and lasted for roughly two hours as the procession made its way throughout Felicity, Charlieville and environs.