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June 2016

Breaking of the Salt Pond

Aerial photo of the settlement and salt ponds at Salt Island
by Ricky Dos Santos www.antilleshelicopterservices.com

Breaking of the Salt Pond

 

A valued tradition is revived in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday

By Claudia Colli

This spring, over 100 descendents of Salt Island, along with government officials and other dignitaries, gathered at the edge of one of the island’s two salt ponds. They were there to take part in the “breaking of the salt pond” – a ceremony that had not occurred in over 40 years. Part of the celebrations organized to mark Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday, the occasion was a 21st century event honoring an age-old tradition.

For generations, the inhabitants of Salt Island, a small island of sloping hills to the southeast of Tortola, harvested the briny salt from two large salt ponds that lay at its center. Forging a life of family and tradition, Salt Islanders were self-sufficient and hardy, weathering hurricanes and isolation. The work of harvesting the salt was backbreaking and the income meager, but throughout the years they persevered, taking pride in a job that was integral to the islands’ culture and commerce. ...Read More

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