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HomeNewsLocal newsFolklife Festival 2023 a Celebration of V.I. Culture

Folklife Festival 2023 a Celebration of V.I. Culture

The Folklife Festival 2023 celebrated Virgin Islands Culture at the Estate Whim Museum. The two-week festival organized by the legendary Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights is a series that celebrates and promotes the rich culture of the Virgin Islands through food, dance, history, and music.

On Saturday, the Folklife Festival gathered about 100 people for workshops that incorporated storytelling, moko jumbies, quadrille/maypole dancing, cariso singing/drumming, Crucian cooking, and woodworking. Vendors, families, and other visitors enjoyed an afternoon of workshops.

Moko jumbies at “granny house” resting in the shade at the Folklife Festival. (Photo by Diana Dias)

Cariso singer Cedelle Petersen shared melodic memories of the Virgin Islands’ past under a huge tree. Cariso is a form of communication that was done secretly so that slave masters would not understand.

Cedelle Petersen shares melodic memories called cariso under a big tree at the Folklife Festival. (Photo by Diana Dias)

Soon after, Guardians of Culture Moko Jumbies founder Willard John shared the history of the moko jumbies. He said, “Their costumes covered their bodies completely. The reason being if you are representing a higher power, you need not see the human behind.”

A moko jumbie at the exhibit “Granny’s House” at the Folklife Festival. (Photo by Diana Dias)

John said the authentic African drum music that the moko jumbies danced to serve three important roles. First, it was a means of spiritualism, second a means of communication, and third a means of entertainment. After the Guardians of Culture performed, they allowed participants to join in and also take pictures.

Meanwhile, over in the “cookhouse” Rena Francis prepared some mouthwatering fungi, sardines, and pigtail souse.

Rena Francis at the cookhouse at the Estate Whim Museum. (Photo by Diana Dias)

The Folklife Festival continues until July 3 with workshops and other fun cultural events scheduled.

Folklife schedule. (Photo submitted by Folk Life Festival 2023)

The Estate Whim Museum is known for its colonial great house, granny house exhibit, cookhouse, sugar mill, and other exhibits.

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