The Na­tional Cos­tume

The Star (St. Lucia) - - NATIONAL DAY -

One mostly sees the in­for­mal ver­sion of the na­tional cos­tume, which is a lacey un­der­skirt topped by a madras (a colour­ful plaid fab­ric) skirt. The bodice is the same lacey white trimmed in red ribbon. The tét mawé is the head­piece al­ways tied in a peak (or two depend­ing on mar­i­tal status). The for­mal ver­sion of the na­tional cos­tume is very in­tri­cate and much more elab­o­rate. It is a full-length dress of brightly coloured fab­ric (of­ten times flo­ral) tied up on one side to re­veal the lacey lay­ers of the un­der­skirt. The hair un­der the tét mawé is wrapped tightly in a bun or more tra­di­tion­ally two cir­cu­lar buns over the ears. The heavy jew­ellery worn rep­re­sents the pieces tra­di­tion­ally re­ceived by the top house ser­vants as a show of ap­pre­ci­a­tion, fol­low­ing the master’s or fam­ily’s trips over­seas. (The more jew­ellery worn de­picted a higher sta­tion within the house­hold.) Be­hold­ing a lovely St. Lu­cian lady in full, for­mal na­tional dress is a de­light­ful sight. Due to the in­tri­cate and in­trigu­ing his­tory and cul­ture of the na­tion, St. Lucia has many de­light­ful tra­di­tions and cus­toms. The day to cel­e­brate such a colour­ful col­lage is filled with unique and won­der­ful events and ex­hi­bi­tions. Con­tact the St. Lucia Tourist Board for de­tails, or ask your ho­tel’s so­cial desk.

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