Short Guide to Caribbean Culture

by IntangibleArts

The Caribbean represent one of the most diverse regions of the world, a blend of cultures that has proved to be extremely prolific. It would be impossible to comprise the fecund culture of the Caribbean nations in one short guide. When booking a vacation in the Caribbean, you get far more than a luxurious hotel room, a slice of beach and a nice tan – there is a whole, vibrant culture that waits to be re-discovered. Therefore, today’s post is a mere teaser than a short guide to Caribbean culture. I will try to highlight the cultural aspects to have in mind when traveling in the Caribbean and the things to look for and explore. 

The Colonial Heritage

by jsaraiva50

Depending on the colonizing power, each island in the Caribbean has developed its own distinct culture. The British inheritance is more obvious in Antigua, British Virgin Islands and Barbados. The US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are closer to the American culture, while the Francophone influence still prevails in Guadeloupe, Haiti and Martinique. There is also a hispanophone Caribbean which is mainly represented by Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

The Dances

The blend of cultures and the irresistible African drum rhythms were the main factors influencing the Caribbean music and dance. While some of the dances are specific to one or another Caribbean island, they are ubiquitous at Caribbean parties and in the numerous clubs. The most popular Caribbean dances are salsa, soca, calypso, mambo and meringue.

The Festivals

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Catholic is the most spread religion in the Caribbean therefore the tradition of Mardi Gras festivities still lives here. The most famous carnival is that of Trinidad and Tobago. There are, however, numerous manifestations throughout the year, starting with the jazz festivals in Cuba or Jamaica to the sailing and fishing tournaments in Bahamas.

The Food

The best thing about the Caribbean cuisine is that you can have them all: the ultra-sophisticated dishes and expensive wines in a top-notch restaurant, and the juicy fruits and fresh drinks right form the street vendors.  There are few things that you don’t want to miss though: the local rum, the seafood, as well as some specific fruits that can only be found here.

The Creole Languages

Creole are languages created from a mix of two or more languages. This sort of languages have developed in all colonized regions, and are usually based on English, French or Spanish, as well as on the languages of the African slaves. Due to the traditions of the creole languages, we can speak of a creole culture, in all its aspects (for example, the creole kitchen is well-spread in southern USA).

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