Kick Off The New Year With A Fete At St. Croix Christmas Carnival

Kick Off The New Year With A Fete At St. Croix Christmas Carnival

The Crucian Christmas Festival has been a treasured tradition since the 1800s. Here's why you should add it to your travel plans.

The New Year celebrations shouldn’t stop on New Year’s Eve. You can keep the party going into the first week of January, all while enjoying the beautiful blue skies and waters during the height of the winter season. 

The Caribbean is known for celebrating Black excellence all year long, especially during its variety of Carnivals hosted in countries throughout the West Indies. St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands is among the Caribbean islands that hold its annual carnival right at the start of the new year.

Dubbed the Crucian Christmas Festival, the nearly two-week-long event runs from Dec. 26, 2023, through Jan. 6, 2024. The holiday carnival has been a treasured tradition since the 1800s when enslaved Africans were given time off to celebrate Christmas. They would dress up in homemade costumes and dance through the streets.

The carnival takes place on the 1st Friday and Saturday of the New Year, with the Children’s Parade taking place this year on Friday, Jan. 5, and the Adults Parade being held on Saturday, Jan. 6.

Among the events leading up to the big carnival day included seven days of free concerts featuring top local and international acts, including Cool Session, Charlie Aponte, Destra, Nadia Batson, Adam O, Capleton, Edwin Yearwood & Krosfyah, Karnage, and Dexta Daps. Organized by the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism and Division of Festivals, this year’s event included beloved cultural events featuring the Prince, Princess, Dutch, and Duchess Show, Queen Pageant, and Soca Monarch. The Division of Festivals also hosted the first-ever Kid Ville event, celebrating the island’s youngest residents.

The annual Food Fair at the Frederiksted Pier showcased the vibrant flavors of Crucian cuisine, featuring a range of delights from patties to seafood. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in the highly competitive “war of tarts” and cast their votes for the best among coconut, pineapple, and guava varieties.

From Thursday to Saturday, the streets of Frederiksted came alive with local and visiting pleasure seekers enjoying J’ouvert, the Children’s Parade, and the Adult Parade. The record number of attendees and participants adorned in culturally significant and elaborate costumes celebrated the rich Caribbean heritage of the island.

“This year’s Crucian Christmas Festival marked the conclusion of a remarkable 2023 for our territory and heralded the beginning of 2024 as a year destined for further advancements in destination appeal,” Joseph Boschulte, commissioner of Tourism said.

A post-parade fireworks display concluded the 12-day celebration, followed by Uber Soca Night at the Frederiksted Village with performances by international Afro Beats star Davido and Caribbean Music Awards Soca Performer of the Year, Mr. Killa.

“This year’s Crucian Christmas Festival showcased the rich and abundant culture of St. Croix, spanning from pageants to the food fair, J’ouvert to the parades,” Ian Turnbull, director of Festivals, said.