ST CROIX — Take an island that revels in rum, a dash of Irish heritage, add a sea of green and you’ve got yourself a Crucian St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Each year on the Saturday closest to St. Patrick’s Day, revelers adorned in green flood the streets of downtown Christiansted dancing, singing and celebrating the popular Irish holiday infused with Crucian culture.
Many are often surprised to learn that St. Croix is home to one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the Caribbean. The Irish Caribbean Heritage stems from the 1700s when sugar production was prevalent throughout the region. Under Danish rule, Irish descendants from neighboring islands moved to St. Croix to develop sugar plantations on the island’s fertile land.
The St. Croix St. Patrick’s Day Parade started in 1969 when group of local businessmen got together at a popular watering hole in downtown Christiansted. Their conversation turned to holiday celebrations where they questioned why St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t celebrated in the Virgin Islands. They decided at that moment that something MUST be done to remedy this dilemma. From there, the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade on St. Croix was born. With a stake-bed truck outfitted with piano on top, the newly organized committee and fellow supporters hopped on board the slow-moving structure singing Irish and local songs while saluting shoppers and shopkeepers along the route. Those donning their green gear immediately got into the spirit, while those who needed something green rushed into the nearby shops to find the appropriate attire to join in on the fun. In present day festivities, local majorette groups, high school bands and carnival troupes parade through the streets to pay homage to their Irish Caribbean Heritage on an island brimming with Armstrong’s, O’Bryan’s, O’Neale’s and O’Reilly’s.
The 2023 St. Croix St. Patrick’s Day Parade will take place on Saturday, March 18th starting promptly at 11am. The parade kicks off in downtown Christiansted at Sunday Market Square and travels along Company Street and King Street. For all the latest information about the parade, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/stxstpats.org.
Written by Anquanette Gaspard email@example.com