When it comes to entertainment, people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines know how to do it, especially at Christmas time.
More is probably known about J’Ouvert early morning street parties with loud pulsating music, alcohol, paint, mud, and oil, but this article focuses on something unique to St. Vincent & the Grenadines – Nine Mornings celebrations.
Nine mornings before Christmas, usually starting around December 16th each year, persons can join celebrations in the streets of various villages to celebrate Christmas.
The fun sessions are suitable for children as well.
The street sessions usually feature the sounds of steel pan playing the covers of popular local, regional and international Christmas songs, dances, choir, groups and solo singing, and impromptu eating, drinking and other fun competitions and challenges.
The largest of the sessions are held in Capital city Kingstown at Heritage Square with other sessions in rural areas such as Stubbs and Carriere.
In describing the festival which is over 100 years old, Discover SVG states that “Vincentians awake in the early hours of the morning and partake in a range of activities, among them sea baths, dances (or in local parlance, fetes), bicycle riding and street concerts.
In the rural areas, the final morning of the festivity usually ends with a steel band “jump-up”.
THE HISTORY OF THE FESTIVAL
According to Discover SVG, ” the origins of this festivity are clouded in some mystery, although the original tradition relates it to the ‘novena’ of the Catholic Church on the nine days before Christmas.
It is believed that after the early morning church services of the Catholics, worshippers began walking the streets while others went for sea baths. From this the popular Nine Mornings festivity emerged.
Although popular opinion has this practice as starting during the period of slavery, it was more likely to have been a post-emancipation practice”.
Persons outside of St. Vincent who wish to take part in the unique festival can book early to arrive in St. Vincent for around December 16 each year.
By: Demion McTair
Editor: Secrets of St. Vincent & the Grenadines