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Montserrat celebrating St. Patrick’s Day all week

 BRADES – The 2010 St. Patrick’s Week Celebrations got off to a good start last Saturday with 42 persons participating in an invigorating hike from Cassava Ghaut to Duberry’s Estate and the Cot.

The hike was led by local trails tour guides James “Scriber” Daley and Philemon “Mappi” Murrain and was followed by a sumptuous Creole breakfast at the Montserrat National Trust. Other activities included a discussion on Radio Montserrat and a Kite Festival at Blake’s’ Football Field. Winners of the kite festival were awarded for a diversity of kites included the smallest kite, the highest flying kite and the largest kite.

The St. Patrick’s celebration is two-fold. It draws attention to Montserrat’s Irish heritage and commemorates the failed slave uprising that took place on St. Patrick’s Day in 1768. The island used the day to remember the sacrifice of the slaves and marks the rise of the slave freedom fighters. Declared a national holiday in 1985, the bulk of the festivities took place in St. Patrick’s village in the south of the island, but due to volcanic activity at the Soufrière Hills Volcano that area has been become uninhabitable and celebrations are now held in the north of the island.

Concerts by the Martin Healy Band from Ireland and the Montserrat Community Singers set the tone for the celebration which is a mix of Montserrat’s dual heritage.

During the weeklong festival a number of other activities will form part of this unique celebration. This will include a freedom walk and run, a heritage jamboree and performances by a visiting Indian troupe. A heritage feast in Festival Village at Little Bay on St. Patrick’s, March 17th is the highlight of St. Patrick’s Day. A slave village will be erected that will include individually decorated slave huts and a heritage feast where indigenous foods, such as salt fish, duk-na, goat water, and bush tea can be sampled. Other activities include the dancing of the masqueraders, revelers dressed in colorful costumes, a heritage jamboree, locals dancing in the street, junior calypso competition, market day and an annual church service.

Business places and offices celebrate by decorating in green and shamrocks and the color of the madras fabric. Residents are encouraged to show their national pride by wearing the national dress on Friday. The complete list of activities is available on the Montserrat Tourist Board website at