Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico Celebrate Friendship for Hispanic Heritage Month


Hispanic Heritage Month started yesterday as the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico celebrate their friendship with various activities following the theme “Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico—Celebration of Our Culture, Our History and Our Friendship” through mid-October.

Dormitila Vargas, a committee member for the Hispanic Heritage month activities, said the events have evolved from the friendship activities to include a greater dynamic of Hispanic people in the community. She said the territory has been celebrating for decades as they fuse their common bonds and relationship that have grown into a new culture. [. . .] “This is a celebration for Virgin Islanders and everyone who lives here, as we recognize and celebrate all Hispanics and the influence they have had on our culture,” she said.

National Hispanic Heritage Month takes place from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, when people recognize the contributions of Hispanic and Latin Americans to the United States and celebrate the group’s heritage and culture. President Ronald Reagan expanded the week-long celebration in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. The dates were chosen because eight Latin American countries celebrate the anniversary of their independence between Sept. 15 and 21.

While National Hispanic Heritage Month will be at its midway point as October begins, the Virgin Islands-Puerto Rico Friendship celebrations will be launching then with ceremonies, art shows, cultural festivals and church services. The Virgin Islands celebrates V.I.-P.R. Friendship Day on Columbus Day. The holiday was created in the 1960s to recognize the unique relationship between Virgin Islanders and Puerto Ricans, who were at the time the largest group of migrants to the territory, particularly on St. Croix. Vargas said many people of Hispanic descent migrated here from Puerto Rico and Vieques and other Hispanic areas for different reasons, and from the time they came to the island, they felt at home because of the closeness in the community and the similarities in the culture.

Other activities throughout the month of events will include a sunset jazz concert, a family fun day, school presentations, dance and craft workshops, art exhibits, cock-fighting demonstrations, a paso fino horse presentation and a cultural exchange.

Gov. John deJongh Jr. will host an invitation-only reception later in the celebration to honor four outstanding members of the Hispanic and Virgin Islands communities for their contributions to strengthening the ties that bind the two groups of people together.

Friday: Sunset Jazz with R&B Connection in Frederiksted, 6 p.m.

Oct. 6: Fiesta en el Batey (Family Fun Day) at WHIM Museum, noon to 5 p.m.

Oct. 10: 2nd Thursday with Rivert & Friends at the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts in Frederiksted.

Oct. 11: Plena Libre presentations at Pearl B. Larsen and Charles Emmanuel schools.

Oct. 11: Diego Conde “Santa Cruz” exhibit at the Caribbean Museum and Center for the Arts in Frederiksted.

Oct. 12: Governor’s reception, recognitions and awards, 6 p.m.

Oct. 13: Cultural Exchange at the Agriculture Fair Grounds, noon to midnight.

Oct. 18: Sunset Jazz with Siete Son and Trío Camaleón in Frederiksted, 6 p.m.

For more information, you may contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email

For original article, see

[Image above: the Whim Plantation Museum.]

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