"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

May 4, 2015

Blowing The Conch Horn

It’s a tradition in the Bahamas to blow a conch horn at sunset. It can occur just as the sun touches the water on the horizon or sometimes a bit later when the last portion of the sun descends below the horizon. Regardless of exactly when, the sound of the conch horn fills the air and you know you are in the islands.

The technique for blowing a conch horn is similar to that used for a French horn. Pucker your lips and blow air through them, making a put-put-put sound. It takes a little practice and the first few attempts at blowing the horn may sound a little bit like an elephant calling to his make, but practice makes perfect.

Conch Trivia 
  • Conch shells first appeared about sixty-five million years ago. 
  • About 3,000 years ago, evidence shows that the shells were used for cooking pots, knives, hooks, and pendants. 
  • Conch shells can also produce pearls. 
  • Conch is a common name that is applied to many different species of mollusks. They are found throughout the Caribbean in warm shallow water. 
  • The best time to find conchs is during the night when they come out to feed. During the day they are usually buried in the sand. 
  • Usually found in the sand or in grassy areas. 
  • A nickname for these shells is “sea cow” because they are herbivores and graze on sea grass and algae.
Conch Horn Trivia 
  • Conch horns have been used for centuries by indigenous Caribbean and Pacific Island natives.
  • The Greek god Triton was said to control the ocean’s waves by blowing his conch-shell trumpet.
  • Conch horns are also listed by the US Coast Guard as an approved sound making device under the requirements of Rule 33.b and Annex III. 
  • Sounding a conch shell horn at sunset is a long standing tradition in the Keys and the surrounding Caribbean islands. 
  • To Conch someone is to honor them by blowing the Conch in their tribute or remembrance.
  • To hold a conch is to hold the history of the sea and some of its most ancient sounds.
  • Conch horns are also used in religious ceremonies around the world. A Loa of Voodoo named Agwe is called by a conch horn to the voodoo ritual. 
  • Some Buddhist monks blow conch horns announcing prayers from the rooftop of their monasteries. 
  • A wedding ceremony custom among Bengali Brahmans involves having seven married ladies, headed by the bride's mother, processing round the bridegroom seven times. One of the women carries a conch and blows it as she goes.
Our first blowing of the conch in Rockport

1 comment:

  1. Well, we made it home last Friday just in time to start watching Ana.