BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — The Berkeley Memorial Clock, which is located beside colorful masquerade dancers is lighting up the Taipei City sky at this year’s 2019 Taipei Lantern Festival.
An iconic landmark in Saint Christopher and Nevis, the four-sided clock with a functioning fountain, is a historical backdrop for photo opportunity for tourists, and an area for citizens in the Federation to congregate to talk about the news of the day.
The Lantern Festival or the Spring Lantern Festival is a traditional festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunar calendar. Usually falling in February or early March on the Gregorian calendar, it marks the final day of the traditional Lunar New Year celebrations.
This year, under the theme of “Twinkle Taipei,” the Taipei City Government expects to exceed four million visitors – an excellent platform for Taiwanese to learn more about the Federation through the display of the lantern.
During a press conference attended by Government officials, H.E. Jasmine E. Huggins, Ambassador of Saint Christopher (Saint Kitts) and Nevis to the Republic of China (Taiwan) mentioned that the Taipei City Lantern Festival was a tremendous opportunity to promote the Federation to the expected millions of visitors to the festival.
In her remarks to promote the Lantern Festival, Ambassador Huggins referred to the success of last year’s staging of a lantern depicting Brimstone Hill Fortress, a UNESO World Heritage Site, and mentioned the positive feedback received from the Taipei City residents. Ambassador Huggins stated,
“This year we are showcasing our heritage and culture by presenting the Berkeley Memorial Clock and our masquerade dancers together. Saint Christopher and Nevis and the Republic of China (Taiwan) have had diplomatic relations for over 35 years and presenting our history and culture in a fun and interesting light is another way to increase our visibility to potential tourists and to foster understanding and respect…
“We are hopeful that when the visitors to the Lantern Festival learn more about Saint Kitts and Nevis they will be encouraged to visit the Federation to see the real Berkeley Memorial Clock and Brimstone Hill Fortress and may even be inspired to join the masqueraders in their dance.”
A remnant of the colonial past with Great Britain the Berkeley Memorial Clock was erected in 1883 in honor of Thomas Berkeley, a past legislator and plantation owner in Saint Kitts.
Because of its location in the center of the capital, the Berkeley Memorial Clock and its surrounds become a hub of activity as many cultural performances, such as the masquerade dance occur around its base, particularly during special occasions such as Carnival.
The Masquerade dance is an important aspect of the folklore of Saint Kitts and Nevis and has been handed down for generations as part of its African heritage, and displayed all over the world.
In expressing gratitude to the Taipei City Government for the invitation to join the event and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their support, the Ambassador also thanked the lantern maker and noted that the lantern “is an excellent replica of the real structure (with a working clock)” and invited Taipei City residents and to visit the 2019 Lantern Festival.