National Heritage Month activities kick off with Schools Garifuna Folk Festival
Cultural officer, Maxine Browne (Internet Photo)
March 3, 2023

National Heritage Month activities kick off with Schools Garifuna Folk Festival

Cultural officer, Maxine Browne on Monday February 27 announced a package of activities for the celebration of National Heroes and Heritage Month in March.

In making the announcement at a press conference hosted by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Browne urged all Vincentians to take part in these activities.

Today, March 3, 2023, the Garifuna Heritage Foundation in collaboration with the Department of Culture will present the 8th National Schools’ Garifuna Folk Festival and History Expo under the theme: Children of Chatoyer, Fruits of our Heritage.

The festival will officially commence with a march starting at the Bishops College compound at 8:30 a.m, and end at the Victoria Park where cultural performances would be presented in song, dance, poetry, spoken word, choral speech, and music.

These presentations would be done by the various schools across the nation at the primary and secondary levels.

This cultural package is slated to begin at 9:30 a.m and patrons would also be given the opportunity to view and witness an exhibition which will display artefacts, food, and the history of our ancestors. This would be facilitated by the secondary school students.

In the Festival, children will be dressed in various outfits featuring the Garifuna colours- yellow, black and white. During a march past the adjudicators will be looking for the largest group of students, the most organised group, and the best use of Garifuna colours.

For the cultural presentations, students will be judged for most outstanding instrumental in the music department; best drumology; most outstanding Garifuna dance; most outstanding Garifuna song; best choral speech; most outstanding poetry; most creative presentation; and best overall Garifuna-themed presentation.

The booth will be manned by the History students of secondary schools across St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and will receive points based on most outstanding traditional booth; most outstanding research paper; most outstanding oral presentation; and most creative local dish.

Six secondary schools and 21 primary schools have confirmed their participation in the 8th Garifuna Folk Festival.

From Wednesday, March 8 to Saturday, March 11 The University of the West Indes (The UWI) Open Campus will host their annual literary fair which will resume after a brief hiatus. The theme of the fair is, ‘Promoting the arts, Sustaining the Environment, Preserving our culture and Heritage.’

Activities in the Fair which opens on March 8, include exhibitions, book launch, cultural evening, and film night.

From Thursday, March 9 to Saturday, March 11 the Garifuna Heritage Foundation will present the 10th Annual International Garifuna Conference in collaboration with The University of the West Indies Open Campus at the NIS Conference room.

It will reflect various presentations from several researchers, lecturers and teachers, among others under the theme “ From reaction to Action, Challenges and Opportunities for Promoting Reparatory Justice for Indigenous People.”

The Ministry of Culture is urging all Vincentians to express their Garifuna pride by wearing outfits using the Garifuna colours on Friday, March 10- Garifuna Dress Day.

Garifuna in the Diaspora will be involved in ‘Homecoming 2023’, flying into St Vincent from March 10 where they will stay until March 15 to be part of the celebrations of National Heroes and Heritage Month. This will include the annual ceremony at the Obelisk at Dorsetshire Hill on March 14 in honour of this country’s national hero, the Right Excellent Joseph Chatoyer.

Other activities for the month will be hosted in other communities including Greiggs and Owia.