Culture is best thought of as the sum of practices maintained by a people reflecting their way of life; which includes traditions, beliefs, entertainments, dress, and language. It is both the “Things they do” and "How they do them". National Identity is closely bound with Culture since a person’s national identity is in part a by-product of their Culture. It should be remembered that Culture is a dynamic concept since the “way of life” for a group is always subject to changes.
In St Vincent and the Grenadines the history of the country has produced a marvellous heritage of Amerindian strength of spirit, fused with European governance, to which we add African inventiveness, complemented by Asia’s resilience philosophy.
At this time a number of festivals give vision and voice to the myriad influences that shape our culture today. The festivals cover different areas of interest such as sailing, dance, music, traditional celebrations, and other such things. The national calendar of activities has some activity in every month. Of special note are March for celebration of National Heroes, A Gospel Festival in April, Carnival in July, October sees us celebrating Independence; and in December there is a Christmas festival, that is unique to St. Vincent & the Grenadines, called Nine-Mornings. Our Carnival is called Vincy Mas and is considered second only to Trinidad & Tobago. It gives opportunity for expression of artistic talent in carnival costume, steel band, calypso, soca and various other forms of entertainment.
Food is another element of culture and the country developed from an agro base. One of the most recently developed festivals is in celebration of the Breadfruit. Traditionally, it was a major food staple for the poor; however, its stature has grown to the point where now it is on every plate, when ever possible. Of course, the adoption during the 1950's of breadfruit and jackfish as the national dish certainly helped.
Of note in the National Identity of Vincentians is that we are characterised as friendly and hospitable to all who visit our islands. All the elements of our culture are easily felt and experienced by visitors. But it is interesting to realise that most Vincentians by so constantly living their pattern do not have a consciousness of their culture. Of course it is a matter that we note that the people who visit us have an accent when they speak while we do not.