If you’re not from the Virgin Islands, or have never lived there, you may find it hard to believe that there exists quite a healthy rivalry between St. Thomas and St. Croix. After all, both islands (along with neighboring St. John) have been united under various flags for centuries, sharing a number of culinary, cultural and other traditions.
Speaking as a born and bred Crucian, though, I can say that the rivalry is definitely there. It’s silly and often good-natured, but it’s there. I’m sure there are dozens of explanations for the root of the conflict, but for me, one of the biggest coincides with what is undoubtedly the best reason to be in St. Thomas right now: Carnival.
The history of Carnival in St. Thomas dates back to 1912, though it wasn’t until 1952 that the celebration became a regularly scheduled event. Not quite the size of Trinidad‘s (what is?), St. Thomas Carnival is an explosion of color, culture, music and fun, with Calypso shows, pageants, music, parades and parties extending from late-April to early-May.
Now, you know I love a good fete, so what could possibly be the problem?
How’s this: the official name of the event is the Virgin Islands Carnival, which would seem to suggest that it’s a celebration for the entire Territory, right? Only thing is, school kids in St. Thomas get three extra days of vacation (Carnival Recess) to fully enjoy the revelry. Those of us in St. Croix? Zero.
Doesn’t really sound like a celebration for all Virgin Islanders, now does it?
Keeping Crucians from getting in on all the Carnival fun certainly qualifies as a valid point of contention in my book. Especially when you consider how much fun there is to be had in St. Thomas this time of year. Just check out the video above, produced by WTJX Channel 12 and featuring the music of the VI’s own Spectrum Band…
St. Thomas Carnival officially kicks off tomorrow with the Carnival Prince and Princess Selection Show at Lionel Roberts Stadium. The climax comes three weeks later during the Adult Parade on Saturday, May 7th. You may see a few Crucians there, but don’t look for them May 4-6 when the Thomian kids will be off from school and hoarding their Carnival all to themselves…