Yeah, so for the record, this experience is almost an anomaly. Usually, I go on vacation to be on my non-basic tip: soak and actually learn about the culture, be one with the people and just relax. This trip was like, the opposite, because I spent almost every day somewhere on the Drunk Creolepatra™ spectrum.
In my defense, this was a “girl’s trip”, where our purpose was singular and simple: fête, turn up, and drink away our feelings about returning for another semester of grad school. Whomp whomp whomppp.
Well, the official purpose was participating in St. Croix’s annual carnival, better known as the Crucian Christmas Carnival. My best friend’s roommate is a native of St. Croix, and convinced us American gyals to participate in the parade. Although I questioned how if this would be percieved as cultural appropriation, I was informed and educated on carnival. Living in New Orleans, I had a fair idea about carnival through Mardi Gras.
Carnival is the synecretism of West African and Catholic religious beliefs, the miscegenation of the beliefs and traditions our West African and Indigenous American ancestors subverted and blended when forced to subscribe to the dominant European religious values. Deriving from an old tradition of celebrating the “twelve days of Christmas”, the carnival lasts like all throughout the month of December and leads up to January 7th, or Epiphany, the last day of Christmas season. Courtesy of St. Croix’s tourism page, here’s a better description:
The Carnival parades are the highlight of Crucian Christmas Carnival, and the last official events of the Carnival festivities. A beautiful display of Crucian culture, the parades feature troupes dancing through the streets all day long wearing beautifully hand crafted, vibrant, feathery costumes. From majorettes to moko jumbies, steel pan bands to fire dancers, the parades offer a unique chance for spectators to experience the magic, traditions, and cultural heritage of St. Croix.
Long story short, I came to this beautiful ol’ island to participate in the Adult Parade, which was on the very last day. Everything else was just kinda #gowiththeflow #vibes, because there were 10 of us in the group, and we all just wanted to chill. But whether you come to participate in the festivities, or just watch ’em, St. Croix is a gorgeous destination.