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Culture in Anguilla

Anguilla's cultural history begins with the Taino Indians. Artefacts have been found around the island, telling of life before European settlers arrived.

In 1993, the Anguilla National Trust (ANT), was established in order to preserve the island's heritage, natural resources, and culture so that future generations can experience the rich heritage and cultural resources of Anguilla. ANT has a number of different programs that serve as custodians over Anguilla's natural environment and archaeological sites, which are an important part of the country's history and played a major part in shaping the island's culture.

Anguilla has several small art galleries, shops that sell local crafts, and a museum with exhibitions relating to Anguillan history, including prehistoric artefacts found on the island. Although there is no permanent theatre on the island, various theatrical performances are held regularly. The Anguilla Arts Festival is held every other year and includes workshops, exhibits, and an art competition.

The island has produced a number of popular reggae, calypso, soca and country musicians. Of these, the last is especially characteristic, as country is not otherwise a part of much Caribbean popular music. Anguilla's Island Harbour, an Irish-settled village on the east side of the island, is a major centre for local country music. Soca is a major recent import that has become the most important form of dance music on Anguilla; it is often accompanied by frenzied, sexualised dancing called 'wukin up'.

Sailboat racing is as important and celebrated on Anguilla as cricket is on other Caribbean islands. The islanders hold the first sailboat race of the season on Easter Monday. Sailboat racing on the island is a special event, and hundreds of local people, as well as tourists, gather round the island shores to witness the breathtaking race take place.

As throughout the Caribbean, holidays are a cultural fixture. Anguilla's most important holidays are of historic as much as cultural importance – particularly the Carnival or Anniversary of the Emancipation (emancipation of African slaves on Anguilla), celebrated as the Summer Festival, usually held near the beginning of August (the first Friday after the first Monday). British festivities, such as the Queen's birthday, are also celebrated.





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