St. Croix’s Carnival became an annual event in 1952 with the revival of old holiday traditions transformed into modern Festival. Dating back at least to the early-1800s enslaved Africans on St. Croix were allowed to celebrate Christmas & New Year’s Days. The celebrations on plantations included drumming, singing, & dancing.This month-long celebration incorporates modern-day celebrations with long-standing traditions for over 60 years.
It involved parading through the streets of town singing, dancing, & playing drums; often stopping door to door for rum & wine. Masquerading was popular during Christmas & other holidays including Easter & Whit Monday. These traditions continued into the early 1900s but saw some decline.
Social events kept music traditions & dances like the quadrille, lancers & bomboula alive. The Carnival festival collected traditions into one big event with a focus on the former holiday celebrations. The event has become more organized each year, incorporating additional events.
While most of the action happens in Frederiksted, events & venues span across St. Croix, with celebrations including nightly displays of talented bands & musicians, pageants for Carnival royalty & fairs that showcase local crafts, foods, & drinks.
The best is saved for last. J’ouvert, the Children’s Parade, & the famous Adult’s Parade are the last of the official festival events. The Parades are a beautiful display of Crucian culture with troupes dancing through the streets all-day long wearing beautifully hand crafted, vibrant, feathery costumes.
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