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Providencia has a festival at the end of every June, to show off the full range of its cultural expressions: the Folk, Culture and Sports Festival of Old Providence. There are regattas and a beauty contest in which the women of the island dress up in their finery as a tribute to the beauty of their race.
In the middle of this bustling event you may hear voices in Spanish, being answered in English or their native Creole. Creole is a fusion between Elizabethan English and some Africanism that carry an occasional trace of Spanish.
The Festival of Providencia is the maximum expression of the island culture.
The excellent food of the islands is everywhere to be seen, and Santa Isabel becomes the perfect place to look for the flavor of the Caribbean with an English influence. And all the while the islanders are engaged in riotous conversation or telling stories with a drop or two of local rum they call “bushi”.
When the tide is low, they have horse-racing on the Southwest beach/ Photo: Flickr-user anthrotect.
The best part of the Festival is the traditional horse-racing on Southwest beach. Ever since the English brought their ships laden with horses in the Colonial era, the descendants of Africa learned to ride.
The beach is the setting, and every other Saturday they run three races, during the hot season over the hard beach – otherwise the horses would break their legs, sucked down by soggy sand.
The races are short (less than a minute each, because the beach is quite short), but very exciting and a wonderful way to appreciate the relationships between the islanders and their horses.