It is easy to be insular in thinking when geographic factors facilitate it but it is good for us in the Virgin Islands to retain some regard for our neighbors, even if they are separated from us by many miles of open ocean - as well as by prevailing language and culture.
While many of us look either to the mainland or down-island for cultural influences, the influence of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean on the Virgin Islands is by no means negligible and, in fact, is quite noticeable, especially on St. Croix.
Puerto Rico has played a large part in the history of the Virgin Islands and many Virgin Islanders proudly trace their ancestry to the commonwealth or its off-shore islands, Vieques and Culebra. At this time, our governor and one senator are of Puerto Rican descent and, even if the administration changes, the next governor will also be able to trace his roots back to that island.
However, our links with Puerto Rico go much deeper than the presence of thousands of Virgin Islanders with Spanish surnames. The ties between this territory and its larger neighbor are many and strong.
The list of prominent Virgin Islanders who went on to college - or even high school - in Puerto Rico is long. Equally long is the list of those who went to that island to work. Puerto Rico is our main source of a great deal of merchandise. For many Virgin Islanders, it is a shopping center frequently used. It is also the source of a large segment of our tourism.
Culturally, our music, our food, our way of life is flavored with a strong tinge of Latin influence, happily mingled with African and northern European traits.
Virgin Islands-Puerto Rico friendship deserves a special celebration and the round of visits, social events and athletic contests is a worthy manner of celebrating. Nevertheless, letís make the feeling itself a year-round emotion and let every day bear evidence of these ties.
It is celebrated on the Second Monday in October.
Source: news.google.com | pr.gov | "The Virgin Islands Daily News" - Oct 7, 1978
In 2024 Virgin Islands-Puerto Rico Friendship Day in USA falls on October 14.