Soufriere Foundation ushers in the Christmas season with Avant Noel celebrations
On Saturday 13 December, 2014 Soufrierians marked the start of the Christmas season with a yuletide ceremony called Avant Noel. This inaugural event was hosted by the Soufriere Foundation with sponsorship from several local business houses, most notably Whispers, Soufriere Service Station, Soufriere Constituency Council and Cool Breeze Jeep and Car Rental.
Avant Noel was designed to bring good cheer and the Christmas spirit to the community. This was achieved through carol signing, lantern parading and switching on of the Christmas lights which ring the Soufriere Square and the nearby streets. While the switching on of the lights is nothing new, in the past it has been an indistinguishable event. This year, by marrying the three activities the organization was able to put together a fitting family event to herald the Christmas season.
Though in its first year, hundreds of appreciative residents turned out to watch the event. After the customary welcome remarks, seven young children from the Soufriere Community After School Programme paraded their lanterns and then the lights were switched on. This was followed by carol singing by Our Saviour, Soufriere Combined School, Fond St. Jacques Catholic and the Soufriere Senior Men and Women’s Catholic Choir. It was the first time since 1997 that residents were being exposed to a lantern parade, the last being the annual National Festival of Lights celebration which was hosted by the town in 1997.
Avant Noel was covered live on the community radio station, 88.5 Soufriere FM. “We felt that Avant Noel had to include everyone regardless of location and so we were quite pleased to bring the event to the homes of our listeners who couldn’t be there,” said Lester Cazaubon, 88.5’s Coordinator. Avant Noel coincided with the start of the 12 Days of Christmas promotion on 88.5 Soufriere FM. During this interactive 12-day programme, residents partake in on-air exercises and win prizes. This year’s prizes include a trip to Martinique, tablets, a 32” Samsung LED HDTV, food hampers, day passes at various hotels, etcetera.
In order to keep the festive spirit alive in the community, the Soufriere Foundation will host two other events: a traditional party for underprivileged children and a fireworks display on New Year’s Eve.
The Soufriere Primary School Choir entertained the
Dressed in natinal wear, this choir from Soufriere
belted out the yuletide favourites.