The National Costume
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.