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Culture in St. Vincent & The Grenadines

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Much of St. Vincent & The Grenadines' culture, as you might expect, is strongly linked to the sea, and to the boats which brought African slaves, Portuguese labourers, and French and British settlers together with indigenous Caribs to give St. Vincent and the Grenadines its vibrant, multi-ethnic community, that is both proud and unified.

Food and drink in St. Vincent & The Grenadines

Locally grown pineapples in Kingstown Market. Photo by Huw J Williams Virtually everything you eat in St. Vincent & The Grenadines will have been grown or reared locally. The furthest many ingredients will travel is from a small farm on St. Vincent to a plate at a restaurant on the Grenadine islands. The fish will have been pulled out of the waters surrounding the island by a local fisherman and sold straight to the chef just a couple of hours before it is cooked. Be sure to sample the local dishes jackfish and breadfruit, and wash it all down with a cool Hairoun Beer or a Sunset Rum.

Read more about food in St. Vincent & The Grenadines here

Vincy Mas carnival

Carnival on St Vincent Vincy Mas is the Caribbean's hottest summer festival. Taking place at the end of June/beginning of July and spread over twelve days, this is a festival of steel pan, masquerade and calypso, packed with historical meaning and cultural pride. The festival provides fantastic entertainment for all the family with acts and shows such as the King and Queen of the Bands, Junior Carnival, the Miss Carnival Beauty Show, Steel Band and Calypso competitions and all kinds of different street parades. Vincy Mas is the most important annual celebration for St. Vincent & The Grenadines.

Read more about the carnivals in St. Vincent & the Grenadines

Music in St. Vincent & the Grenadines

Dancer in carnival on St Vincent Music is a big part of Vincentian culture. Every March, locals head to the Emerald Valley Resort on St. Vincent for the Rhythm & Blues Festival, a two-day event of soulful Caribbean tunes. Gospel Fest takes place during the month of April and is a celebration of traditional Caribbean gospel music. Join in the festivities at many locations all over the island of St. Vincent - this is a showcase of the best of the gospel talent in St. Vincent & The Grenadines.

Bequia Regatta - Easter weekend

Bequia dinghies in Admiralty Bay. Photo by Huw J Williams The Bequia Regatta and the Easterval Regatta (Union Island) take place during Easter weekend every year. The weekend activities include huge boat races, with hundreds of entrants taking part, sports and games, calypso and many other competitions and activities.

The Canouan Regatta, which is a similar event, takes place during the Whitsun Weekend.

Read more about the Easter Regatta on Bequia

Boat building on Bequia

New Bequia dinghy taking shape in Paget Farm. Photo by Huw J Williams With the decline of the plantations after the abolition of slavery Bequia's main industry came from the sea.

"You were a boat builder or a fisherman. If you had no business building boats you went fishing."
Herbert Ollivierre, Master Shipwright
Read more about boat building on Bequia here

Maroon festival on Union Island

Cecil Edmund, dancer at Maroon festival. Photo by Huw J Williams The Maroon draws from ancient harvest rights brought from West Africa by the salves that were taken to work on the cotton plantations.

The day-long festival takes place on a full moon in May and includes songs, dance moves and drumming rhythms handed from generation to generation.

Read more about Maroon festival on Union Island here.

Model boat builders on Bequia

Model Bequia Dinghies. Photo by Huw J Williams Every year at the Bequia Easter Regatta local children sail coconut boats in their own version of the main race. Launched from the beach, the first to sail past a marker buoy wins.

It was making these coconut boats, first so he could compete and later for other children, that led to a 40-year career for Lawson Sargeant.

Read more about model boat builders on Bequia here

Maritime Museum on Bequia

Lawson Sargeant working on a model of a Bequia dinghy. Photo by Huw J Williams Although small, the Maritime Museum has some beautiful models of historic boats, old photographs and artefacts.

"It's something the island needed for a long time, to keep the history alive and tell people what the island been doing."
Lawson Sargeant
Read more about the Maritime Museum on Bequia

History and culture of Bequia

Bequia dinghies. Photo by Huw J Williams The history of Bequia is tightly wrapped around the movement of people through the Caribbean.

The sea has dominated the economy and culture of Bequia. Despite cotton and sugar plantations and widespread local agriculture, it is boat building, fishing, whaling and seamanship that defined peoples' lives for generations. They still do today.

Read more about the History and culture of Bequia

Whaling traditions over 200 years old on Bequia

Iron Duke, whaling boat bought by William Wallace in 1876. Photo by Huw J Williams
"Growing up as a young boy the whalers were our heroes. They were doing it for the island. It supplied us with food."
Nollie Simmonds
The people of Bequia have been recognised as having a legitimate right to hunt under the Aboriginal Subsistence Scheme.

Read more about Bequia's whaling traditions here

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