We were elated by the full schedule of traditional activities organised for the territory’s third celebration of Virgin Islands Day on July 3.

The way forward for the observance is finally starting to take shape.

As we have argued often on this page, the 2020 public holiday reforms that created the day were an important step toward shedding the territory’s colonial past and better honouring its history and culture.

Virgin Islands Day is a case in point: It replaced Territory Day, which originally was known as Colony Day when it was first celebrated in 1978.

Clearly, this change was much needed and should have come long before 2020. But the first two observances of the holiday were lacklustre at best.

For the first, in 2021, officials blamed the pandemic, which was a reasonable excuse but nevertheless disappointing. But last year’s observance was similarly muted, with activities limited mainly to a panel discussion at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College.

After that, the government inexplicably also failed to host any official observance of the two other new holidays later in the year: Heroes and Foreparents Day in October and the 1949 Great March and Restoration Day in November. As a result, both passed almost unnoticed.

The July 3 celebration, then, was a welcome change. The activities at Long Bay, Beef Island — a good choice of location — included a fishing tournament, traditional music and dance, storytelling, games, sports, food and more.

In the future, we hope to see even more activities each year as the territory observes the annual public holiday. Potential additions include a lecture series, awards for local arts and writing, concerts, readings, and other activities designed to instill pride in the territory’s rich heritage.

If July 3 was any indication of the new government’s direction in this regard, we look forward to seeing what the October and November holidays will bring.

But the government, of course, can’t do it alone. The whole territory must work together to continue forging the DNA for the new observances, which we hope the VI will still be celebrating hundreds of years from now.

July 3 was a good start. But much more can be done.

We hope everyone had a happy and meaningful Virgin Islands Day, and we wish them many more to come.