Crucian Christmas Festival
Dating back at least to the early-1800s enslaved Africans on St. Croix was allowed to celebrate Christmas and New Years. The celebrations on plantations included drumming, singing, and dancing. In the main towns it involved parading through the streets of town singing, dancing and playing drums; often stopping door to door for rum and wine. Masquerading was popular during Christmas and other holidays including Easter and Whit Monday. This Festival was all a mockery of the then Danish slave owners. In 1952 the Crucians began the now Crucian Christmas Festival.
Today, the month-long event is a highlight of crucian food, music, song, dance, and drinks. During this time of the month many troupes, floupes, and local groups prepare to come together to celebrate not only Christmas but the good ole crucian traditions. Long ago the celebration was done in the “Twin City” where persons could saunter to Christiansted or Frederiksted to enjoy themselves. The festival is now being held in Frederiksted only. This has often created a divide in crucian people who have felt that Christiansted also has a lot to offer. In the 90’s into 2000’s, there was a small village and a night parade held in Christiansted. Those have now been changed to all events being held in Frederiksted.
From the month of December you can have great expectations by participating in the Cultural Village where you can find booth vendors selling food and other items. One highlight of Festival for the children are the Coney Island rides. The entertainment in the village is graciously free. Many crucians patronize the village which is one of the major pinnacles of the season. Each evening there is a rendering from Calypso bands, to reggae music, and Soca music. There is a cultural night, spiritual night and Latin night which has been added in these latter years.
The culmination of the Festival is held with two distinct parades. Here on St. Croix they are referred to or you can say we call them the “Children Crucian Festival Parade” and the “Adult Crucian Festival Parade”. Children from our schools and other organizations come together on Kingstreet, Frederiksted to be participants in the Crucian culture. While at the same time they have a fantastic time in costume as they dance to the sound of local music by one of the local bands. For the past two years, the Virgin Islands Department of Education has participated in the Crucian Christmas Festival. Mostly celebrating with everyone the time of year where our children can be highlighted. In 2018 the theme was “The Evolution of Festival Celebrating 65 year of our History”. The troupe depicted such things as local Indians, Mocko Jumbies, Masqueraders, girls in STEAM, African masks, athletes, and five brought to life characters from the Governors reading challenge. The puppets were created by our local artist Mr. Waldemar Brodhurst.