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Culture & Identity of St. Kitts & Nevis

Introduction

Like many other Caribbean islands, St. Kitts & Nevis are fairly rural as most people tend to live along the coasts, but often times in small towns or villages. However, there are a couple cities, including the capital of Basseterre. This rural lifestyle, and the relaxed Caribbean vibe determines much of the way of life in the country, however work schedules also contribute.

Many of the people have jobs in agriculture or tourism, both of which have varying hours to some degree. Farming is based on the weather, while tourism is based on the seasons and also when a cruise ship is in port. Although these jobs provide money and an ever-changing schedule, the way of life is based on people and socialization.

Living in more sparsely populated areas, socialization is something to be cherished and present conversations are always more important than future obligations. Many local shops, markets, and churches often act as the unofficial meeting place for locals to meet and socialize. No matter the location or occupation of a person, it seems socialization is the root of the way of life as jobs and other aspects of life are only important in so far as they allow that socialization.

Identity

The Kittitians and Nevisians generally identify as such; identities defined by the island each individual is from. While there are numerous differences between people from the two islands, few outsiders will recognize these differences unless they attend their many festivals, which seem to best demonstrate what it means to be a Kittitian or Nevisian. These terms, Kittitian and Nevisian are more than just geographically-based identities; they are also culturally-based as each island has distinct cultures and lifestyle to some degree. Despite these differences, and the pride the people get from these differences, nearly everyone also identifies as a citizen of St. Kitts & Nevis and see the people from the other island as their friends and neighbors.

This page was last updated: December, 2013