times each year the people of St. Croix take to the streets
of Christiansted for Jump Up, a Caribbean flavored festival
showcasing music, art, food and dancing.
The town is packed with revelers on the oceanfront boardwalk
and throughout the narrow, 18th century Danish streets as
native and tourist alike “jump up” and celebrate
all things Cruzan.
Traffic is closed
to vehicles as pedestrians
visit the shops, drink in the bars and streets, eat local dishes
and, at every turn, find themselves awash in the sounds of
highlight of any Jump Up are the Mocko Jumbies, the famous
stilt walkers known for their distinctive dancing. The meaning
comes from Moko, an African god and Jumbi which is a West
Indian term for spirits or ghosts, so they are “Good
Gods” or “Good Spirits.”
This art form originated
in Ghana, West Africa and was adopted by the people of the
is said by many that Mocko Jumbies ward off the evil Jumbie
spirits that roam the St.
Croix rain forest by night. History aside, the Mocko Jumbies carry
on the tradition of an art form that is pure joy to watch.
Queen’s Cross Street are vendors selling pates, (a local
dish of fried bread stuffed with beef, chicken or saltfish),
kebobs straight off the grill (go for the local lobster ones),
and rum drinks with sugarcane juiced right before your eyes.
delicious and educational.
A hint to the newbie…at the bars, order your drinks “stateside”
or you may find yourself not remembering your Jump Up experience
at all. On St. Croix, rum is cheaper than everything else in your
drink, so it is poured liberally. Ask for the Cruzan Rum, it’s local
and it’s exceptional.
evokes the Caribbean mood like the lively Calypso of a steel
pan orchestra and at Jump Up you may have the pleasure of
seeing three or four different groups.
Quelbe, the official
music of the Virgin Islands, is always in the air. Just
look for the Quadrille dancers in the street and there
you’ll find a scratch band keeping Quelbe alive.
Quadrille, an ancestor to traditional square dancing, was once popular throughout the Virgin Islands but now, on St. Croix is perhaps your
only chance to see it.
There’s always a Soca or Reggae band or two
to scratch that street dancing itch when your feet just have to
Jump Ups start at 6 PM “island time” and are celebrated
in February near Valentines Day, the first weekend in May in conjunction
with the Half Ironman Triathlon, just after the fourth of July to
commemorate a local boy who made it big, Alexander Hamilton of ten
dollar bill fame, and Thanksgiving weekend, a great time to visit
St. Croix and to shop for unique Christmas gifts.
up for family or friends or just give yourself the gift of a great
time on St. Croix.
David & Veronica,