St Helena Day is 21 May, our island birthday, commemorating the date in 1502 when Portugese sailor, Joa Da Nova, stumbled across this little uninhabited, Atlantic outcrop.
As you might expect, 21 May is a public holiday on St Helena, and celebrations are always held. The local youth group, New Horizons, have taken on organisation of the day’s events in recent years, usually with a theme – this year it was, ‘People and Places of the Commonwealth.’
The Grand Parade square in Jamestown, normally full of parked vehicles during the day, was cleared to make space for gazebos, food stalls and a stage for local bands.
A St Helena Day War Dance
The showpiece of the day is always the afternoon float parade, which begins at the top of the town and slowly makes its way down to the Parade Square.
Although we’ve covered various street parades on St Helena for our blog, this year’s St Helena Day we were ‘off duty’ so to speak, deciding to just have a beer and enjoy the spectacle. We took the camera to capture a few ‘snaps,’ nothing else!
With a perfect vantage point on The Bridge, cold Windhoek (me) and Hunters Dry (Sharon) from the White Horse pub, all was going to plan until the St Paul’s district float came by; a large crown, followed by a totally enthralling dance troupe. An enthusiastic New Zealand, ‘Haka’ war dance grabbed everyone’s attention before a brilliant energetic routine to Jai Ho, from the film Slumdog Millionaire.
Needless to say I couldn’t resist! My pictures don’t quite do justice to the vibrancy and mood of the dance, but trust me it was one of the best parade moments I’ve seen for a long time. St Paul’s went on to win the float competition with this entry – well deserved.
After that it was back to the alcohol and enjoying the rest of the day, the camera on standby just in case!
Here are a few of our St Helena Day photographs, a little memento of the celebrations.