Located to the northwest of Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada is an island between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Comparatively, it is twice the size of Washington, D.C. and covers a total area of 344 sq. km. Stretching a coastline of 121 km, it lies between 12° 07’ N latitude and 61° 40’longitude. Grenadines Group consists of six small islands and is administered and divided between Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The island has natural resources such as timber, tropical fruit and deepwater harbours.
Grenada is basically known for its beautiful lush and fertile land. The island is green and hilly with mountain ranges. There are rain forests, waterfalls, crater lakes and many rivers in its interior whereas the land has swamps, woodlands and fertile plains on its coasts. The terrain is originally volcanic and has central mountains all around. The climate of Grenada is tropical, that is, hot and humid during the rains and trade winds during the winters and summers.
The fertile land of Grenada has helped in fostering its ecosystem. The land here has fruits such as cocoa, nutmeg mace, ginger root, thyme, tonka bean, tamarind, turmeric and cloves. The lakes, waterfalls and mountain streams add to the scenic beauty of Grenada. The array of animal life includes snakes, agouti (small-sized mammal), butterflies, monkeys, exotic cuckoo birds and iguanas.
Grenada, due to tourism effectively influencing the cuisines and the variety of population visiting it, it has a blend of cuisines for the Americans, Africans, French, British and the East Indian. Fruits are available throughout the year. Common foods in the market include yams, avocados and callaloo greens, which is similar to spinach. The coasts have about twenty different types of fishes that are caught. The common dish at many meals is fish and chicken. One of the peculiar dishes of Grenada is ‘Oil down’, which is prepared by the mixture of salted pork and breadfruit steamed in coconut milk. Also, a combination of ground lobster, conch and other seafood into balls and deep fried dish ‘turtle toes’ is another favourite of the Grenadines. People prefer brewed beer, rum punch spiced with lime juice, syrup and grated nutmeg as beverages.
Grenada inculcates certain qualities and traits that are similar to British colonization. One of it is the custom of ‘driving to the left’. The usual fundraising event is the ‘tea party’. Majority of the population feed their families with the crops that they grow. The leftover from the consumption is sold in the markets. There are a variety of houses that are made from wooden shacks with tin or iron roofs of the poor villages and the brightly painted bungalows for the people who can afford them. The family structure of the Grenadines is an extended one, at least up to three generations. Grandparents raised the children and the day-care facilities were available for the working mothers. The clothing is generally a western style one. Hats are worn by women to protect themselves from the sun. Education seemed to be very important and children are required to attend school for twelve years. The native music of the Grenadines is the Drum Music. The official language of the Grenadines is English but many people speak patios, which is a dialect combining the elements of French and African languages.
Majority of the Grenadines are Roman Catholic. The rest belong to the Protestant denominations like Anglican, Methodist, Seventh-day Adventist, and Baptist. The Indian population in Grenada are Hindus. A traditional African religion, Shango, is practiced along with the Christian beliefs. The traditions of boat-christening ceremonies by the holy water, sacrificial goats, etc as a sign of the mingling of the Christian and African traditions can be seen in the island.
Tourism is the important sector on which the economy of Grenada is dependent. The International Airport in 1985 has helped a lot to the tourism industry, which in turn, helped in the foreign exchange. Also, performances in the construction and manufacturing fostered the financial industry and have contributed to the national output. The economy was severely influenced by the hurricane Ivan in 2004, particularly affecting the agricultural sector and the cocoa cultivation.