The tropical climate makes early morning a good time to get things done, and many households are up before sunrise. Many women rise early to prepare breakfast and lunch for their families. Early morning is also a popular time of day to exercise or work outside. By 8 a.m. the sun is on full bore, and there is a general bustle toward school and work. Traditionally, children and working men and women returned home for lunch, and some still do. Increasingly, however, lunch is eaten out. For those unrestrained by rigid work or school commitments, midday makes the perfect time for a nap.
After-work time is golden. Between four and six, the heat of the day begins to subside, and the pressures of the day are past. This is the time when men stop “under the tree” to catch up with friends, or when neighbors linger to talk over the fence. Schoolchildren, no longer concerned with keeping their uniforms clean, run around and play.
Darkness signifies the time to come home and settle in for the night. Virgin Islanders’ belief in jumbies, evil spirits of the night, may have subsided in recent generations, but it has not gone completely. Evenings not spent at home may be spent playing sports or attending church group meetings or social events.
Saturdays are the traditional day for cleaning, cooking, washing, shopping, and general chores around the house. Most households try to get these things done in time for the Sunday Sabbath, when they go to church and spend the afternoon at home. Many families adhere to the tradition of Sunday dinner at home. Sunday afternoon is also the traditional time for family outings to the beach, playground, or ice cream shop. Many shops are closed on Sundays.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Virgin Islands, 4th edition