January 28, 2007 in Montserrat

St Patrick’s Day… Caribbean-style

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I get 21 days for vacation. I know that’s quite generous, but it’s really not enough. Not when you have a new boyfriend in another part of the world. Arrh!! That said, I am so tempted to go back to Montserrat for the week long celebration surrounding St. Patrick’s Day.

St Patrick’s Day… Caribbean-style
Thursday, January 25, 2007
BRADES, Montserrat: The mention of St Patrick’s Day conjures up images of shamrocks, leprechauns and everything green. With a backdrop of secluded dark sand beaches, world-class diving, and a volcano starved for attention, the St Patrick’s Day celebration on the island of Montserrat is unlike any other.
With an annual festival that runs from March 12-19, 2007 and a rich Irish heritage, Montserrat is the only country in the world outside of Ireland to recognize St Patrick’s Day as a national holiday.
Residents and visitors alike take part in a week of feasts, parades, concerts, cultural exhibitions and outdoor theater productions to commemorate the slave uprising that occurred on the island during St Patrick’s Day of 1768.
Activities include national exhibitions showcasing history, art and literature, a kite festival, Junior Calypso Monarch Competition, Freedom Walk and Run, Heritage Day & Feast and annual St Patrick’s Day church service and dinner.
There will even be a slave village constructed in Little Bay that will include individually decorated slave huts and a slave feast offering samples of local foods, such as goat water, stewed yard fowl and bush tea. Local bars and restaurants also celebrate in a more traditional way by serving Guinness and decorating with shamrocks and plenty of green.
Of all the Caribbean islands, Montserrat is the only one to boast a noticeable Irish heritage. The island was a haven for Irish Catholics who had once served as indentured servants in the British West Indies and the influence of their culture is still felt today. The harp and female figure on the flag and official seal of Montserrat are derived from the Irish heraldry.
Goat water, the national dish made of kid or mutton and spiced with cloves and rum, hails from the original Emerald Isle. The Irish legacy is present in the folklore, surnames and even the local speech, which is laced with Irish brogue.
This British overseas territory boasts the spectacular Soufrière Hills Volcano, a modern day Pompeii in the form of its buried former capital city Plymouth, alongside lush, green mountains, world-class nature trails, secluded dark sand beaches, untouched reefs and a quiet friendly charm reminiscent of the way the Caribbean used to be.

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