The island country of Saint Kitts and Nevis is the Western Hemisphere’s smallest country in both population and area. The small country, however, has a lively and vibrant culture of its own. Learn more about the cuisine, arts, sports, and life of the Caribbean island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Ethnicity, Language, and Religion of St. Kitts and Nevis
The island nation hosts a population of 53,094 individuals of which 92.5% of the population is of African descent. Those of mixed descent, European, and East Indian descent comprise 3%, 2.1%, and 1.5% of the population, respectively. English is the official and most spoken language of the country. Christianity is the predominant religion in St. Kitts and Nevis. Protestant Christians account for 74.4% of the population of the islands.
Cuisine of St. Kitts and Nevis
The fertile soil of the country supports the growth of a variety of fruits and vegetables. Seafood and meat are also an important part of the diet. Some of the most popular dishes are pelau and goat water stew. The former is made from chicken, saltfish, vegetables, pig tail, rice, and pigeon peas. The latter stew is prepared by adding goat meat, breadfruit, papaya, and dumplings in a tomato-based stew.
Rum is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the country. Flavored rum is also popular. The Cane Spirits Rothschild is the national drink and is made from fresh sugar cane.
In Nevis, a culture of eating together prevails. Cookouts are arranged on Friday and Saturday nights where people feast together, drink, and play games like dominoes.
Literature and the Arts in St. Kitts and Nevis
The islanders of the country have preserved their ancestral history and knowledge through storytelling traditions. Written literature has a relatively recent history in the nation and began with colonial rule and the spread of formal education. Initial works were related to Christianity but later, other types of publications began to emerge.
Among the crafts, pottery from St. Kitts and Nevis is especially notable. Red clay pottery and those fired with colorful glazes and indigenous designs are also well appreciated. Other crafts include wood carving, rug weaving, sculpting, leatherwork, and batiks. The artists of the country have depicted the tropical landscapes and cultural traditions with great precision and beauty.
Performance Arts in the Country
St. Kitts and Nevis have a thriving scene of music and dance. The annual Carnival is a major celebration. It is held during Christmas time. The Masquerade (mas) is an integral part of the Carnival. The mas performers dance through the streets dressed in brightly colored and patterned dresses and elaborate accessories. The dances are a blend of waltzes, jigs, African fertility dances, quadrilles, etc. Stilt walkers, clown troupes, and live music bands also take part in the mas. The St Kitts Music Festival and the week-long Culturama are two other festivals related to music and dance that are held in the country.
Sports in the Country
The influence of British colonial rule is reflected in the country’s choice of the most loved sport, cricket. The game is played both professionally and informally throughout the islands. Horse racing is a popular sport in Nevis. Horse racing events are accompanied by festive celebrations like music and barbecue. Golf, soccer, mountain biking, etc., are other popular sports played on the islands. An annual triathlon and an annual swim event are also held.
Life in St. Kitts and Nevis
Although the traditional mindset of the society exhibited a patriarchal bias, the scenario is gradually changing. Traditionally, men were expected to be the breadwinners while women were assigned the responsibility of managing the household and children. With increased literacy among women, more and more of them are entering the country's skilled workforce. They are also becoming successful entrepreneurs and political figures.
Marriages are mostly based on the consensual choice of the partners. Marriage is regarded as a social responsibility and a sign of adulthood. Newly married couples usually live in a separate home of their own or might stay with either set of parents. Children are taught appropriate skills and social values from an early age.