The Junior Parang Festival began in 1978 and is considered to be the oldest and longest- running cultural programme for young persons in Trinidad and Tobago. The National Parang Association of Trinidad and Tobago began hosting the festival in 1990 and it is held in November each year.
Some of the objectives of the Junior Parang Festival are:
a) To preserve and promote the rich elements of our Hispanicheritage in schools;
b) To expose the participants to the music, songs, dances and language associated with parang;
c) To encourage the participants to be” good citizens living a good life in a good country” (Ministry of Education Curriculum Document 2005).
In its early life, the Junior Parang Festival was a half-day event. By the year 2005 the number of participating schools –primary and secondary- had increased to forty, which meant that the festival then became a two-day affair. Presently, there are sixty schools -35 primary and 25 secondary-registered in the programme. This means that some one thousand young persons are involved each year and it continues to attract new schools and greater public support.
The Junior Parang Programme provides the opportunity for students to learn more of a foreign language (Spanish) and/or to learn a musical instrument. This is a valuable added benefit to participants. There are studies published that have proven that learning a foreign language or playing a musical instrument helps prevent cognitive decline. These activities facilitate the areas of the brain that handle planning and attention tasks. They have been shown to improve memory, object naming rapid mental processing andflexibility of thinking .
The Junior Parang Programme would like to begin a series of developmental and training workshops in schools and will greatly appreciate your help.