Steel Drums and "Oil Down" - in Grenada

Everyone on the island was talking about "Ail Dung". 

-I had NO idea what to make of it. 

Turns out, it's "Oil Down", Grenada's national dish. 

In fact - it's a whole happening. 

It's Independence Day on the "Island of Spice".
Time to enjoy "Oil Down".

Everyone is decorated in Grenada's national colors, red, yellow and green.

The sidewalks are freshly painted.
Stores play national songs all week - "Three Islands, One Nation".  

Grenada became independent in 1974.
It was a French colony and a British colony.

Many names are still French:
Morne Rouge, L'Anse aux Epines. Petit Martinique. 

(Some are a curious blend of French and English - like "Lower La Tante".) 

 The British Queen is still on the currency, the Eastern Caribbean dollar.

She's a lot younger in these pictures -

The best place for the "Oil Down" is on the beach. 
It's a whole day affair.

Everyone helps. The pot is HUGE. And heavy.

These guys were VERY excited to tell me about their "Oil Down"!

Made with plantains, yams, pumpkin, breadfruit, taro leaves,
salt fish and salt pork, turmeric and coconut milk - and anything else local. Cooked "down" so the "oil" of the coconut infuses the other ingredients.

As it cooks, kids play in the water.
Boys play soccer and cricket.
Moms watch babies, men hang out.

It's colorful and the atmosphere is fun.
People are friendly.

Visitors enjoy celebrating on the beach, too.

In the evening, trucks pass our house. 
They're filled with steel pan bands, playing island music from the back of the truck.

So, with a small glass of rum punch - we sit on our balcony and join in the celebration.

Happy Independence Day, Grenada!