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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
HomeNewsLocal newsFolklife Festival is Back With Another Year of Rich Cultural Experiences

Folklife Festival is Back With Another Year of Rich Cultural Experiences

Moko jumbies at “Granny House” resting in the shade at the Folklife Festival. (Source photo by Diana Dias)

The Folklife Festival is back for another year of rich cultural experiences of the Virgin Islands through dance, history and music.

Each year, the festival is hosted by the Ten Sleepless Knights, and admission is free. Vendors selling local food, drinks, and crafts will also be present at the festival.

In 2023, the festival invited attendees to participate in workshops that incorporated storytelling, moko jumbies, quadrille/maypole dancing, cariso singing/drumming, Crucian cooking, and woodworking. This year’s festivities are promised to spread throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands, extending to St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John.

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

What better setting to hold the Folklife Festival this weekend than the Estate Whim Museum, known for its colonial great house, granny house exhibit, cookhouse, sugar mill and other exhibits.

Here’s a schedule of the events:

  • March 2-3: Folklife Festival
  • March 4-8: Cultural School Tour for St. Croix (invitation of multiple public schools)
  • March 8: Cultural Bearers Recognition Awards Banquet (by invitation only)
  • March 12: A Night of Bomba, Bamboula and African Dance II (Fort Frederick, St. Croix)
  • March 14: Mokolution – The evolution of the moko jumbie (Fort Frederick, St. Croix)
  • March 15: Grand Quadrille Dance (St. Gerard’s Hall on Frederiksted, St. Croix)
  • March 18–22: Cultural School Tour on St. Thomas
  • March 22: The Evolution of Quelbe Music (Fort Christian on St. Thomas)
  • March 23: Culture in the Park (Franklin A Powell, Sr. Park on St. John)
  • June 29: Panel Discussion on U.S. Virgin Islands History (Caribbean Museum Center)
  • July 2: Folklife Music Festival
  • July 3: Quelbe Tramp and Quadrille Under the Stars (Vern L. Richards Park)

At last year’s Folklife Festival, 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.”

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.

This year’s Folklife begins Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m.


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