A Wonderful Celebration of Caribbean Folklore at Anancy Festival 2024

In celebration of Caribbean-American Heritage Month, Island SPACE Caribbean Museum, in partnership with Jamaicans.com, hosted the annual Anancy Festival on Saturday, June 29th, 2024, in South Florida. This year’s event, drew over 130 attendees who gathered to celebrate the folklore of Anancy, the spider man and trickster known for imparting life lessons through stories

The festival offered a day of Caribbean cultural activities, storytelling, and fun for the whole family. It was a perfect way to wrap up Caribbean-American Heritage Month with a day filled with laughter and cultural immersion. Mr. and Mrs. Anancy led a full program of activities that captivated both adults and children. Attendees were treated to traditional Anancy stories, old-time folk songs, and lively traditional dances that brought the rich heritage of Jamaica to life.

Grace Foods provided Jamaican and Caribbean-style refreshments, while Kelly Education and New York Life was on hand with goodies and activity sheets for the kids. These contributions added to the festive atmosphere and made the day even more enjoyable for the young attendees.

Patrick Brown as Bredda Anancy and Mrs. Anancy Maxine Osbourne at the Anancy Festival 2024
‘Bredda Anancy’ (Patrick Brown) entertained the kids with songs, dances, and ring games alongside ‘Mrs. Anancy’ (Maxine Osbourne) at the Anancy Festival 2024

Xavier Murphy, co-founder of the Anancy Festival, gave a brief welcome and provided the audience with a history of the event, recognising the contributions of fellow co-founders Cathy Kleinhans and Dr. Andrea Shaw-Nevins. He then read two Anancy stories with the help of kids in the audience, one in the Jamaican language and the other in standard English. This interactive storytelling session delighted both children and adults, further connecting them with the rich storytelling tradition.

Xavier Murphy festival co-founder reading with children at the 2024 Anancy Festival
Xavier Murphy festival co-founder reading with children at the 2024 Anancy Festival

“We are honoured to host this children’s event for a third year and love how it has grown,” said David Muir, co-founder of Island Space Caribbean Museum. “We are looking forward to continuing to serve the community of all ages.”

Preservation of Caribbean cultural identity

Island SPACE’s Anancy Festival not only entertained but also provided an educational experience, highlighting the importance of folklore in preserving Caribbean cultural identity. Children and adults alike participated in interactive activities, from arts and crafts to book and poetry readings, all designed to connect them with the traditions of their ancestors.

'Bredda Anancy' entertains the audience at the 2024 Anancy Festival
‘Bredda Anancy’ entertains the audience at the 2024 Anancy Festival
An immersive cultural event

The Anancy Festival was originally created by Xavier Murphy, founder of Jamaicans.com; educator Cathy Kleinhans; and Dr. Andrea Shaw-Nevins, Dean of Farquhar Honors College at Nova Southeastern University. Their vision was to create an event that would immerse children of Caribbean descent in their cultural heritage through various art forms.

The inaugural festival took place in Pembroke Pines, Florida, on June 30, 2007. Since then, the festival has expanded globally, with events held in cities such as Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Plantation, Jamaica (Queens, New York), Boston, Washington, DC, Kingston (Jamaica), Nairobi (Kenya), and Accra (Ghana). In 2011, children’s author Kellie Magnus joined the founders to coordinate the festival in Kingston, Jamaica.

This year’s Anancy Festival at Island SPACE was a resounding success. Attendees left with a deeper appreciation of Caribbean culture and the storytelling traditions that have been passed down through generations.

As the festival concluded, many expressed their excitement for next year’s event.