St. Thomas Carnival

St. Thomas Carnival
Photo: vicarnival.com
Saint Thomas is the most populated island of the United States Virgin Islands, an unincorporated territory of the United States. The island is known for its picturesque views, a number of historic sights, and its annual carnival that takes place each spring. The St. Thomas Carnival is one of the most famous Caribbean carnivals.

Originally, Carnival was a Western Christian festive season occurring before Lent. Many countries still celebrate it in February or early March, during the period know as Shrovetide. However, many Caribbean carnivals have nothing to do with Lent anymore and are celebrated either in spring or in summer.

The St. Thomas Carnival usually begins in late March or early April, culminating in the final week of April. It was founded in 1912, five years before St. Thomas was purchased from Denmark by the United States. The carnival lapsed during the First World War and was revived in 1952, quickly becoming the second largest Caribbean festival.

St. Thomas’ Carnival is a month-long event filled with talent shows, pageants, parades, contests and competitions, calypso music, and more. Special pageants are held to elect the queen and princess of the carnival. There’s also a series of elimination contests to determine the best calypso performers.

Like most Caribbean carnivals, the St. Thomas Carnival opens with a large street party called J’ouvert which involves calypso bands and dancers in vibrant costumes dancing through the streets. Other signature events include Pan-o-Rama (a steel pan concert), adult’s parade and children’s parade with beautifully decorated floats and original costumes.

The program of the carnival features a wide range of cultural activities held in Carnival Village, commonly referred to as the Village. It is made of several dozen booths selling local delicacies, international culinary delights and exotic desserts. These activities include Cultural Night, Cultural Fair, traditional games, calypso competitions, and many more.

Some of the most beloved events featured at the St. Thomas Carnival include Toddlers Derby, Greased Pig Contest, a boat race, and the King and Queen Competition. And of course there’s calypso music that doesn’t stop for a minute. Calypsonians entertain the crowd, offering satirical social commentary and mocking politicians.

St. Thomas Carnival

Photo: CaribbeanRitualDancers



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