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Every year as the 4th of July approaches, the small island of St. John prepares for their annual carnival. It is a jubilee filled with music, dancing, good food, and local culture. The festival lasts a whole week, ending with a parade and fireworks on the 4th of July.

Carnival as we know it today, is a result of centuries old traditions, from both the European and African descendants. The U.S. Virgin Islands is melting pot for all ethnicity and cultures, allowing for a cultural fusion of the carnival traditions.

“Music and dance were integral parts of celebrations during the plantation era in the Caribbean. These traditions continued to evolve over time; as did the various periods of celebration. Though most celebrations occurred around Christmas and the pre-lent festival of Carnival some were planned around the agricultural cycle, the end of the sugar cane harvest for example. It is from these various festivals with their creolized music, dance and masquerading traditions that Carnival developed.” – Source- VI Now

“Today Carnival is celebrated across the Caribbean. On some islands the festival has endured almost annually since the 1800s. On other islands the 1900s saw various festival traditions being revived into Carnival, often incorporating elements from neighboring islands. Carnival is however much more than a modern festival with remnants of contributing traditions, both European and African. While retaining similarities it has evolved into something that is also different – enough so to be considered uniquely Caribbean.” – Source- VI Now

Check out VI Now at the link below to read more in depth on the history of Carnival.

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