Carnival in Virgin Island is a magical time. Plain and simple It is an intense and electrifying bacchanal! Pulsating music and steel pan bands fill the air. The streets are filled with bright colors and a multitude of people. Mocko Jumbies tower over the crowd and scores of twirling majorettes, troupes march down the streets in glittery knee-high boots, and mesmerizing costumes. Thousands of revelers line the streets and walk along with the procession. It is festive, it is fun and everyone is more than ready to celebrate!
St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas have developed a reputation of throwing the best carnival in the Caribbean. People come from all over the world to
enjoy the white-pristine beaches and luxurious resorts, but Carnival is that one thing that celebrates the melting pot of cultures and ethnicities. Families, friends reunite to what would seem a never ending party a few times each year.
Dating back to the 1800s, slaves on the island were allowed to celebrate Christmas and the New Year. They would sing, drum and dance up and down the streets, stopping by various houses along the way for some rum. The traditions changed over the years, however some parts of it like the African Bomboula dance and the old European quadrille dance were kept alive. The Island’s diverse heritage spiced with some African, European, Latin and American influences explodes in an expression of color, music and dance are evident today.
St. Thomas Carnival
The first official Carnival was held on Valentine’s Day, 1912 on the island of St. Thomas and again in 1914. After that year, nothing happened for 38 years. It was only when a radio personality named Ron De Lugo made a call about reviving the tradition of Carnival in 1952. People actually showed up and since then the Virgin Islands Carnival takes place every April to first few days of May on the island of St. Thomas. On St. John, it’s mid June to Emancipation Day, July 4th, commemorating the abolition of slavery in the U.S Virgin Islands. Mid December to early January on St. Croix. On St. Croix, the Carnival festivities alternate between cities of Frederiksted and Christiansted every Carnival involves pageants, boat races, calypso contests and fun activities for kids as well. The festivals culminate into a food fair presenting the best cuisine the Island has to offer and the anticipated J’ouvert where revelers are dancing in the streets behind bands and DJs before the break of dawn.
Virgin Islands are always ready to celebrate life. It is a rather magical place with a cultural heritage that should be celebrated at every turn and Carnival time is the best time to do so!