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By Tammy Gagne

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John, and St. Thomas—and tiny Water Island, which was added in 1996. Because they are part of the United States, the islands have adopted many American customs. At the same time, they have developed their own culture. As a result, from food and fashion to music and sports, life here is both familiar and fresh to visitors. Pates are one of the most popular food items in the islands. Made from fried dough, they can be filled with spiced meat, fish, or vegetables. Many tourists love pates so much that they Puerto Rican day parade celebration in New York City.

Indd 46 8/7/14 3:59 PM Haiti Holding on to Her Heritage Track star Marlena Wesh grew up in the United States. But her parents were born and raised in Haiti before moving to Virginia. When Marlena competed in the 400 meters race in the 2012 Olympics in London, England, she represented Haiti. “I’m the only child that my parents have who considers themselves to be a Haitian-American,” she explained. “I actually make an attempt to speak the language and do Haitian things. ”5 Her father pointed out, “Haiti never does anything at the Olympics.

Even if a recipe was written down, it would simply instruct the cook to use “a little bit” of this or that. While the official language is English, many islanders also speak Creole, French-Patois, and Spanish. This variety of languages is a reflection of the varied origins of the people, of whom more than 75 percent are black or Afro-Caribbean. The music heard on the islands is as varied as everything else. Traditional Caribbean music like calypso, reggae, and steel pan is played in many clubs.

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