Jump Up! St. Croix

Mocko Jumbies on St. Croix Virgin IslandsFour 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 island music.

Christiansted St. Croix street festival Jump UpThe highlight of any Jump Up are the Mocko Jumbies, the fa
mous 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 Caribbean.

It 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.

Along 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.

It’s 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.

Nothing 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 up.

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.

Pick something up for family or friends or just give yourself the gift of a great time on St. Croix.

David & Veronica,

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3 thoughts on “Jump Up! St. Croix”

  1. I love the picture. I was wondering if I can use it as a reference guide ina painting for a client. Thanks for getting bak to me.
    Dian Elgin

  2. Hello,

    I was visiting St. Croix over the Thanksgiving holiday to do some continuing research on buying a 2nd home there on the island.
    Before this trip I was of the opinion that the island is not a very “green” island and that opinion was even further enforced by the latest trip there.
    I recently returned from a trip to several Greek islands and one in particular stands out as a polar opposite to STX. In Crete, where sunshine isn’t nearly as plentiful as the lovely STX there are many programs promoting green activities, namely solar power. Almost 75% of the roofs on this island has solar systems! STX, I’d venture to say, maybe 5%. On this latest trip I realized STX has a litter problem. On one morning job we stopped at a basketball court to do some exercises and under the bleachers was packed with litter as well as the perimeter of court. We had the pleasure of attending the JumpUp, it was a lot of fun and entertaining. The next morning when we embarked on our morning run the area surrounded the festival was covered with litter from assumed festival attendees. In NYC a big part of event planning is having a clean-up crew in place for after the event. Not only wasn’t this the case in good ole STX but the rubbish was still laying around for 3 days after the event! It really is a shame that such a beautiful island doesn’t have any type of volunteer programs in place to keep it litter free. I won’t even get into the fact that styrofoam is still used almost always. Do you know McDonalds (hardly a leader on the green front) stopped using Styrofoam in 1989 because of the ill effects it has on the environment.

    Michael S.

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