||Crucian culture is a Creole culture, reflecting African and European traditions, spiced with Latin, American, and even Arabic influences. The legacy of Africa is particularly evident in the cuisine, gestures, traditional healing practices, styling, music, dance, and oral traditions. The European legacy derives primarily from the large number of Scots-Irish who ran the plantations. Crucians are very proud of their cultural heritage and eager to share it with visitors.
|DANCE & MUSIC|
If you're lucky, during your visit there may be a scheduled quadrille dance, a performance of the St. Croix Heritage Dancers in their bright madras, or an opportunity to hear one of St. Croix's lively scratch bands. Also know as quelbe, a scratch band's sounds consist of a ukulele banjo, the conga drum played with a stick, an instrument called the squash, and the steel triangle. Other local musical sounds include cariso, calypso, soka, salsa, merengue, and bachata. Christmas is the time of year when quelbe is heard frequently - at parades, parties and on the radio. more
During Crucian Christmas, Three King's Day, and even St. Patrick's Day, parades carry on the ancient tradition of masquerading, where men and women dress up in an assorted costumes and move about town with musical accompaniment. more
Recipes and culinary traditions from Africa, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands contribute to our local menus. Kallaloo is a thick soup dish that can include balls of fungi (cornmeal), conch, crabs, fish, hambone and okra in a base made with the kallaloo bush. Johnny cakes are unleavened fried or baked bread made of white flower. Souse is a stew made from pig's head, tail and feet. Stew conch is a tasty way to prepare this popular gastropod. Pigeon peas and rice is a universal staple side dish. When you order provisions, you will most likely get yams, pumpkin, plantains, or arrowroot. Fillings for paté, a fried turnover, can include salt fish, beef, or vegetarian. Wash it all down with some refreshing maubi, a frothy drink made from the bark of the carob tree, ginger root, yeast and herbs. Or try one of the many bush teas, which not only taste good, but are considered natural remedies for everything from insomnia to asthma attacks.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Basket weaving, construction of metal or clay coal pots, mahogany furniture making, chair caning and needlework are among the craft traditions carried on to this day on St. Croix. more
While English is the official language of St. Croix, you will frequently hear Spanish and West Indian Creoles spoken. The local Creole, Crucian, grew out of the social interaction of enslaved Africans and European planters. It is English-based because that language, rather than Danish, predominated among the Europeans. Also, English rather than Danish was taught in the schools before and after emancipation. Crucian's African influence is most obvious in its grammar, syntax, and use in oration, storytelling, and proverbs.