Island Customs & Folklore

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The "wetting of the ground" in Carriacou

Known as the Land of Reefs, Carriacou is the largest of Grenada's sister islands. But it's still just 13 square miles long. What it may lack in size, it makes up for in special customs, and its devotion to its departed relatives.

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Trinidad's Papa Boise

Papa Bois, also called Maître Bois, is a Trinidad folk hero, who lives in the forest and protects the animals.

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Feature Stories

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Native calabash is used in celebrations.

Costumes of madras

The brightly colored shirts, skirts and headwraps worn during the traditional quadrille dance reflect a tapestry of Westin Indian tradition. A display of madras reflects cultural pride. Click for more.

Jumbie spirits

Some islanders confuse the jumbies with mocko jumbies. The first are the evil or impish spirits, while mocko jumbies are masked stilt dancers who mock the spirits and celebrate joi de vie during carnivals and special events. Click for more.

South of Currier and Ives

The Caribbean sparkles, from the Bahamas to Belize, with its rich mix of holiday traditions. Click for more.

Holidays from hurricanes

Hurricanes- or the desire to ward them off- have spawned two important holidays in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The fourth Monday in July is the day set aside to pray to the powers that be for protection from hurricanes. And every October Virgin Islanders celebrate Hurricane Thanksgiving Day, offering thanks for protection. Click for more.

Cultural and heritage tourism in St. Croix

CHANT, a local not for profit organization on the island, is sharing St. Croix’s abundance with visitors who want a healthy dose of culture, history and authenticity, served with their sun and sand. Click for more.

Magic of mocko jumbies

It couldn't be carnival without them. The fanciful figures, which loom high above the crowd dancing in defiance of evil, are rooted deep in local culture. Mocko jumbies, masked and majestic, symbolize good sprits, which chase away the bad. Click for more.

History speaks in stone

Architecture in the West Indies has many reminders of of European cultures from hundreds of years ago. Some buildings are crumbling on back streets with trails of wandering ivy creeping on their cracked stucco. Others have been restored by architectural historians and stone masons. Click for more.

Music, mas and more

It is an exhilarating experience,which engages all the senses. A Caribbean carnival has the allure of the Academy Awards, and almost as much preparation. Click for more.


Calabash is perhaps the most versatile fruit in the Caribbean. Wild Calabash grows along tropical canopies and you'll find cultivated calabash, in West Indian gardens bearing a more porous and larger fruit. Click for more.

Capilla del Cristo

This small chapel with an ornate alter of silver and gold, at the end of the posh shopping street, is a landmark in Old San Juan. Visitors of faith often make a pilgrimage to the chapel in hopes of being granted an answer to their prayers Click for more.