unique Vincentian cultural tradition of "Nine
Mornings" is enthusiastically celebrated in
Bequia. For the nine nights before Christmas,
music, singing and revels takes place up and
down the island in an exuberant countdown to
The precise origins of the
custom are unknown, although it is believed
to have developed in St. Vincent after
emancipation, (and in its present form in
the late 19th /early 20th century) as a
fusion of multicultural forms of celebration
- such as music, drums and dance - with the
Christian festival of Christmas, and later,
in association with the early morning
Christmas Novenas, formerly celebrated at
midday by the Catholic church.
Nine days before Christmas
musical activities and carols often take
place under the Almond Tree - sometimes
starting at 4am in the morning - to the
surprise and delight of many visitors
longing for a good carol or two!
So don't be surprised if
you hear songs and reveling into the wee
hours in Christmas week; its all part of
Christmas on Bequia!
Bequians take their
carolling very seriously. Shortly before
Christmas groups representing the islands
villages and communities compete in an
evening carol competition attended by most
of the island and its visitors.
Christmas and New
only thing that is missing from Christmas on
Bequia is snow! The Christmas spirit is the
same on the island as anywhere in the world
- good will and season's greetings abound,
families and friends get together, and shops
are full of unusual gifts and delicious
treats. Midnight services on Christmas Eve
at both the Anglican church in Port
Elizabeth and the tiny Catholic Church in
Hamilton welcome all worshippers.
On Christmas Day, as on
Christmas Eve, hotels and restaurants
offer traditional Christmas fare with all
the familiar trimmings - with that extra
West Indian flair.
New Year's Eve in St.
Vincent & the Grenadines is more
commonly, (and quite sensibly!) known as
Old Year's Night, and Bequia really knows
how to "ring out the old and ring in the
new"! The harbour fills with visiting
yachts, and ashore there are celebrations
in every restaurant and bar - all the
stops are pulled out for this one special
night of the year. A spectacular firework display
over Bequia Harbour is the highlight of the
evening. Made possible by the generosity of
private individuals and Bequia's business
community, it's a climax to the holiday
celbrations that no one will want to miss.
and flares, popping corks and warm embraces
- and then the partying really begins!
Happy New Year!
Bequia's Admiralty Bay at midnight
Bequia Mount Gay Music Fest 2017, January 19th -
& Mustique Blues Festival in Bequia (Friday,
De Reef is
Gay Music Fest
| The Bequia Tourism
Association, (in conjunction with the St.
Vincent Department of Tourism & Basil's
Bar), is the organising body responsible for
bringing the world-famous Mustique Blues
Festival to Bequia for one glorious evening in
The Blues Festival
began in Mustique in 1996 as the brainchild of
Basil Charles (known to everyone on Mustique
simply as "Basil"), and London's Lady of the
Blues, Dana Gillespie.
In the ensuing years
the Blues Festival has become a must for
everyone visiting St. Vincent & the
Grenadines in late January and early February.
Most of the performances are held at Basil's
Bar in Mustique, but Bequia hosts one Friday
night performance - and a real party
atmosphere pervades the venue when it's
Bequia's turn to put on the show!
The line-up varies from year
to year. Recordings are made of each year's
performances and the resulting CDs sold to
benefit the Basil Charles Foundation, which
sponsors many Vincentian children through
their secondary education.
Frangipani Hotel, from 8.30pm:
Steel Pan Celebration -
13 piece Elite Steel Pan Orchestra
Bequia Plantation Hotel, 8.30pm:
From Europe & USA:
The Mustique Blues
in Bequia for One Night
Saturday, January 21st,
Bequia Plantation Hotel, 12.30pm:
Live Afternoon Music by the Beach
Saturday, January 21st, De Reef Lower Bay, 8.30pm
Bequia's Big Music Night -
back for final line-up!
Sunday, January 22nd, 1.30pm,
De Reef Lower Bay
by the Beach
Please check back for final
Auction, Sunday, 5th February 2017
at Black Pearl Restaurant @ Gingerbread
Bequia Sunshine School for Children with
Special Needs holds its annual Sunday
fund-raising auction in mid-February. This
very special school is a privately funded
educational institution administered primarily
by a local board of directors. Currently the
government pays the salary of one teacher
only; all other costs have to be raised by
private donation and fundraisers - thus the
need for funds is constant.
The benefits of the school
to Bequia's children with special needs are
huge, and vitally important to their
development as individuals. Currently the
school caters for 30 children attending
daily classes; their progress in all aspects
of learning and skill training is
extraordinary - due in no small part to the
dedication of the teachers.
The annual auction is now in its
sixteenth year and is fast becoming one of
the most fun events of the season. Items for
the auction, and for the Jumble Sale which
follows later in March, are all donated by
well-wishers and energetically amassed and
sorted by the auction organisers in the
| There could be
literally anything up for sale - jewellery,
antique prints, art work, clothing, furniture,
household items, marine items, donated dinners
and services and handicrafts made by the
students at the school are all likely to be on
EC$30,000 is enough to
cover the running costs of the school for
four months, and this is the target that is
aimed for each year.
To find out more
about Bequia Sunshine School contact:
or visit www.bequiasunshineschool.org
13th - April 17th)
as long as any one can remember, there has
always been a Bequia Regatta. Formerly at
Whitsun, now for the last 30 years held at
Easter, Bequia's Regatta is rightly famous for
its unique blend of local boat racing, yacht
racing shoreside activities and Bequia
A fleet of more than thirty
traditional local boats from Bequia and her
neighbouring islands, some no more than 12
feet long, others a majestic (by comparison)
28 feet in length and capable of
extraordinary speed and agility, compete out
on the sparkling waters around Bequia.
And on the same waters, another fifty or
more yachts compete in five CSA-officiated
Classes every one racing with the same verve
and determination, striving to achieve that
perfect harmony of boat, wind and
fabulous, colourful weekend, full of fun and
camaraderie, skill and tradition, with the
whole island caught up in regatta fever.
Sunday's Regatta Lay Day on Lower Bay beach
sees a grand fete for boatloads of visitors
from the mainland, while Friendship Bay
Beach hosts a family Layday with Sandcastle
and Crazy Craft competitions, and easter
activities organised by regatta sponsors
Bequia Beach Hotel.
The hard working volunteer
members of the Bequia Sailing Club are
responsible for putting on this high profile
event every year, and the event is
internationally renowned as the largest
regatta in the region, the unique
traditional local boat racing, and the well
run, challenging yacht races which include
the J24 Southern Caribbean Championship.
The island is almost full to bursting for
the Easter period, and the harbour is packed
with yachts. People come from all over the
world just to be in Bequia for regatta, and
none are ever disappointed. The island puts
on its best and brightest show, and everyone
just loves it!
Carnival takes places at the end of June, and
is a delightfully informal and spontaneous
With St. Vincent's "Vincy
Mas" now the nation's premier tourism event,
Bequia's own Carnival looks set to move
forward as well and become a true small
island carnival and a permanent fixture in
the island's cultural calendar.
| If Bequia
Regatta is a celebration of Bequia's
traditions of boat-building and seamanship,
Bequia's Fisherman's Day (held on the first
Saturday after Vincy Mas) is a lively and
fiercely contested demonstration of the
island's abundant skills at harvesting the
waters that surround the island.
Once again the Rotary Club
of Bequia are the organizers, with the
famous "Rotary Wives" doing a fine job in
cooking up the catches and providing
delicious fresher-than-fresh barbecue and
baked fish lunches, complete with
rice'n'peas, dasheen, yams, plantains, green
bananas, coucou, breadfruit and coleslaw.
The competition begins at
first light, and all catches have to be in
by early afternoon. Not surprisingly, it's
the biggest catch by weight that wins, but
there are various categories for the
different types of fishing - trolling,
bottom line deep water, bottom line inshore,
etc. Plus of course a special prize for that
all important Biggest Single Fish!
Spectators also get an all
too rare chance to buy as much fresh fish as
they want, straight off the dock and those
in the know come prepared with bags to carry
their purchases away!
March 14: National Heroes Day
the chief of the Black
in St. Vincent with his 5 wives"
Late 18th century engraving from
original by Agostino Brunias
2002 was the first year
that National Heroes Day was celebrated in
St. Vincent & the Grenadines. On this
day the country remembers the death of the
country's first national hero, Carib Chief
Joseph Chatoyer who was killed in 1795
during the second Carib War - a fierce and
determined resistance to the British
occupation of St. Vincent.
After Chatoyer's death,
the Caribs continued their defiant
fighting for the next year or more, only
finally surrendering in late 1796.
The British were so
determined to rid St. Vincent of all
possibility of future Carib resistance
that virtually the entire Black Carib
population - close to 4500 in number -
were shipped to the uninhabited island of
Balliceaux off Bequia's north east coast,
to await onward transportation to Roatan
in the Gulf of Honduras.
But by March 1797, when
transportation from Bequia to Roatan
began, it is estimated that nearly half of
the Caribs had failed to survive their
months of exile on Balliceaux, and still
more died on their journey to Roatan.
August 1: Emancipation Day
August 1st 1834, the "Act for the Abolition
of Slavery in the Island of Saint Vincent
and its Dependencies" came into effect.
However for the 22,500 slaves in St. Vincent
at that time, their life was not noticeably
changed. Only slave children under the age
of six (officially recorded in 1835 as being
2,959) became free as of that date.
The remainder, including
about 14,000 attached to estates, were
subjected to a further four years of
'apprenticed labour' wherein "such person
shall be entitled to the services of such
apprenticed labourer as would for the time
being have been entitled to his services
as a Slave if this Act had not been
Full emancipation was finally
granted to all former slaves on August 1st
October 27: Independence Day
St. Vincent &
the Grenadines achieved its independence from
Great Britain in 1979.
The state remains a part of the British
Commonwealth of Nations.
December 25: Christmas Day
December 26: Boxing Day