by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): “Celebrating 400 years of Ancestral Creativity and Ingenuity” is the theme under which the 2023 History and Heritage Month in St. Kitts and Nevis is being observed.
Head of the Brimstone Hill Heritage Society, Mr Percy Hanley, said the theme was chosen because this year marked a milestone celebration in the history of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“That theme came about because we were thinking that this year, 2023 is actually 400 years since that famous date of 1623, and therefore, we thought it’s appropriate to have some recognition of the fact that we have been existing as a modern nation for 400 years.”
Hanley added, “What we are trying to focus on or helping people to steer their mind towards is the fact that we want to celebrate our achievements over those 400 years.”
Some of the highlights of progress for St. Kitts and Nevis over the past 400 years are Emancipation, Statehood and Independence; as such, the Brimstone Hill Heritage Society has organised several activities.
Wednesday, February 01, marked the beginning of the month-long celebration, where Hon. Samal Duggins- Minister responsible for Creative Economies, delivered a launch address where he highlighted some of the artistic and technological advancements of the Federation’s culture over the last 400 years.
“For centuries, the people of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Caribbean, who are primarily descendants of the African experience, have made tremendous contributions to the world in the fields of Art, Science and Technology, to name a few. They demonstrated remarkable resilience and creativity in the face of adversity, and their ingenuity has helped greatly to shape the cultural, economic and political developments of the world we live in today. From the rhythms of Calypso, Reggae and Soca to the vibrant colours and patterns of Caribbean textiles to the sweet sugar cane juices flowing through our ethos, our African creativity can be seen and felt all across the region. The food, music and art of the Caribbean are a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the people who have taken the traditions of their ancestors and transformed them into something new and truly unique.”
Also posted on the Calendar of Activities is a church service slated for Sunday, February 05, at 8:30 a.m. at the St. Georges Anglican Church in Basseterre.
The Charles Halbert Library will launch a Library Book Display on Thursday, February 09. The display will feature books that reference the chosen theme. Individuals interested in the country’s history are invited to visit the Library Book Display throughout the month.
The History and Heritage Lecture, now renamed the Sir Probyn Inniss Memorial Lecture, will be held virtually for two days; Wednesday, February 22 and Thursday, February 23, at 7:oo p.m.
Sir Probyn Inniss was a former Governor of St. Kitts and Nevis and President of the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park Society. Inniss initiated the idea to commemorate the History and Heritage Month Celebration in St. Kitts and Nevis. According to Hanley, the speaker and the lecture topic are still being decided. He said the aim each year is to source an individual who is most fitting to address and create a topic that complements the theme.
Other activities include Cultural Fair and Exhibition at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC) from Wednesday, February 22 to Friday, February 24 at 10:a.m; History and Heritage Hike to Brimstone Hill at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 25, spearheaded by the St.Kitts National Trust, followed by Senior Citizens Social on Sunday, February 26 at Matheson House by invitation only at 3:00 p.m. The Social will be held in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Aging and Disabilities.
Another featured event is the Primary Schools Quiz (finals) on Tuesday, February 28. The Quiz will feature 4 Primary schools, following two elimination quizzes on February 07 and 15, 2023. The trophy that will be presented to the winning school has been named the Sir Probyn Inniss Memorial Trophy.
Meanwhile, the Back to my Roots Show is also listed on the lineup of activities for History and Heritage Month, on a date to be announced. The History Club of the CFBC will spearhead the event.