On the Caribbean island of Montserrat, the St. Patrick's Day festivities go on for an entire week!
While St. Patrick's Day was once a one-day only event in Montserrat, the celebration of all things Irish has now spanned to an all-encompassing week-long affair.
Indeed, it is the only country in the world other than Ireland where St. Patrick's Day is considered a public holiday.
The week-long festival was introduced on the island, nicknamed the "Emerald Isle of the Caribbean", in 1995 and now attracts an increasing number of Montserrat diaspora and international tourists.
Up close with #Guadeloupe masquerade dancers at last month's St Patrick’s Day Parade in Montserrat. @islandofmni #StPatricksDay #StPaddyDay #StPatrickFestival #VisitMontserrat #MontserratBVI #ccMontserrat #ccGuadeloupe #CaribbeanTravel pic.twitter.com/eJGSg6wdFL— Caribbean & Co. (@CaribbeanAndCo) April 18, 2018
The celebrations, which brings together residents of the Caribbean islands of Montserrat and its neighboring Antigua and Guadeloupe, involve educational talks, cultural events, troupes of masquerade dancers, and not to mention plenty of parties.
Also on the agenda in 2018 were a freedom run from Cudjoe Head to Salem Park, a nature hike, and a junior calypso competition.
A few photos of spectators and participants from the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Montserrat, Emerald Isle of the #Caribbean! #StPatricksFestival #StPatricksDay #StPatricksDayParade #StPaddyFestMNI #VisitMontserrat #CCMontserrat #CaribbeanTravel pic.twitter.com/hQ4TuWAlGz— Caribbean & Co. (@CaribbeanAndCo) March 18, 2018
The festivities are not solely to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland, but also to commemorate the nine West African slaves who lost their lives after the failed slave rebellion in Montserrat on March 17th, 1768.
One might ask why is St. Patrick celebrated on the island?
The majority of Montserrat’s early European settlers who landed there as far back as 1633 were infact predominantly Irish Catholics.
Some were servants and political prisoners, while others were tobacco and sugar plantation owners.
Many of these people came from the neighboring island Saint Kitts, then a British colony, but many others came from Ireland and Virginia.
According to Caribbean and Co, the 1768 slave rebellion in Montserrat was slated to coincide with the annual Saint Patrick’s Day celebration as while the British governed the island, Saint Patrick’s Day was observed due to the large Irish population.
St Patrick's Day in Montserrat 🇲🇸 pic.twitter.com/76pteDRRAA— CaribbeanFacts🌎 (@CaribbeanFactz) March 18, 2017
The website explains that it was anticipated that the British and Irish would be distracted by the Saint Patrick’s Day feast and festivities at Government House.
However, the slave rebellion didn’t happen as planned as the freedom fighters were betrayed by an Irish woman who overhead a planning session. The rebellion was discovered, squashed, and nine slaves were executed and more than thirty imprisoned and eventually banished from Montserrat