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VIHC: PRESERVE CRUCIAN FESTIVAL HISTORY, LORE

Aug. 14, 2002 – In observance of this year's 50th anniversary of the Festival tradition on St. Croix, and in acknowledgement of the unique contributions Crucian Festival has made and continues to make to that island’s heritage, culture, economics, and social life, the V.I. Humanities Council is issuing a community request, especially to the St. Croix community, to submit proposals on projects that will bring to life the ongoing history, personalities, traditions, activities, dances, rituals, masquerading, music, and overall cultural impact of the St. Croix Festival tradition.
Major grant applications — for a $10,000 award — have a Nov. 1, 2002, deadline. Applications for mini-grants — up to $3,800 — are accepted until Sept. 3 and again until Nov. 1.
It is the council's hope, said a release, that the same excitement and creative spirit that is inspiring the preparations now underway for the 50th anniversary observance will inspire a variety of projects and perspectives on the Festival, which together will enable "de Cruzans dem" to capture and document the emotional imprint 50 years of Festival has left on the community's collective heart and soul.
The St. Croix Festival tradition owes a great deal to the earlier traditions of masquerading, which are documented as going back at least 250 years. And, since many of the elements of "mas" represent a continuation of African social/ religious rituals, the Council is also interested in projects that explore how the festival celebrations of St. Croix's multi-layered Hispanic heritage has shaped and intertwined with the celebrations derived specifically from African roots.
Another intriguing feature of Crucian Festival is that it is celebrated during the Christmas season; in what ways, if at all,
has that affected the tradition and rituals?
The council's vision is that these projects will help us all reconnect with the great historical chain of creativity, invention, merriment, struggle, catharsis, and revelry — stretching all the way back to our forebears — that the Crucian Festival celebration still signifies. By celebrating who we are and what we love — our common "human-ness" — Festival doesn’t just entertain us; it allows us to become more of ourselves.
Suggested program formats include: conferences, panel discussions, media productions, exhibits, publications, lectures with discussion, reading and discussion programs, teacher workshops and seminars, development of educational resource materials, and living history presentations accompanied by discussions.
A call for proposals on St. Thomas Carnival remains in effect.
The council is the local affiliate of the National Endowment for the
Humanities. For more information, please contact Michael Prosper, program officer, at 776-4044 or email, or visit the new website .
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