Emancipation Day illustration.
PHILIPSBURG–The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) Department of Culture will be hosting its annual Emancipation Day observances. This year’s theme is entitled “The Water Remembers …”. This commemoration on July 1, involves the ecology of the ocean and its role in the emancipation story.
“The water/ocean has been that which connects us, has been the source for resistance and escape. The water/ocean has been that medium that played a profound role in the middle passage,” stated the department on Tuesday.
The ocean has also been a place for baptism and redemption. In honour of ancestors lost at sea and those in a quest for freedom, the department has created a memorial in their remembrance. The Emancipation Day observances will take place at Captain Hodge’s Pier on Boardwalk Boulevard in Philipsburg on Sunday, July 1.
It will begin at 5:00am as a sunrise sacrament to the sea and the dress code is white. “The Water Remembers” will feature guest speakers such as artist Roland Richardson, historian Daniella Jeffry and Minister of Finance Michael Ferrier.
The ceremony will also feature performances by dancers of National Institute of Arts, Indisu Dance Theatre of St. Maarten and Dancing Dimension, and Voices of St. Maarten poets. Preparations for “The Water Remembers” are already in full swing with rehearsals featuring the introduction of 100 Voices Emancipation Community Choir.
Emancipation Day festivities also include Rudolph Davis of National Institute of Arts, who will be conducting workshops for the public who wish to learn the Ponum dance. This too will be presented on July 1, as part of the sunrise performances. A traditional St. Maarten breakfast will be served at the conclusion of the event.
The entire public is strongly encouraged to attend this event, particularly as a tribute to those who came before us. “If you wish to be a part of the 100 Voices Choir or learn to dance the Ponum dance, please contact the Department of Culture via 721-520-5340 and/or
firstname.lastname@example.org to gain more information on rehearsal and training,” the department said.
Last year’s cultural parade