STAR Read­ers Share Their Best Christ­mas Mem­o­ries!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LETTERS -

We re­cently fea­tured pop­u­lar Saint Lu­cian artist Al­wyn St Omer in an ar­ti­cle based on his just re­leased Moon Dancer se­ries, a col­lec­tion of paint­ings meant to cap­ture the essence of Saint Lu­cian tra­di­tion, par­tic­u­larly around Christ­mas time. His thoughts have gen­er­ated much dis­cus­sion about the spirit of Christ­mas, past and present.

I grew up in Cen­tral Cas­tries where the Masque, Toes and the Pye Banan used to come down at Christ­mas time. When Christ­mas was com­ing you’d see some of them prac­tis­ing by the mar­ket and other ar­eas around the city. Christ­mas was an event where you’d have theatre on the streets; there was food at home, all sorts of things. The mas­quer­ade, some­times the Toes, was so ter­ri­fy­ing that my brother and I and our sib­lings would stay in­side. Red Toes, those tarred boys, Mary Ensent, all these char­ac­ters . . . The Pye Banan was an African tra­di­tion: men danced in trib­ute to women. Those were the days when Cas­tries was like another Venice, with rivers go­ing into the Gar­dens, and the Basin; the fel­las who used to work on the wharf, and the city coun­cil work­ers, these peo­ple used to do it as a tra­di­tion, and also to earn a lit­tle money for Christ­mas. Any­body who was any­body lived in Cen­tral Cas­tries, so at Christ­mas time, when these peo­ple per­formed, it was like street theatre; you’d throw money to them as they per­formed. I grew up with all of this, and it’s gone. It’s not there for Christ­mas any­more. --- Al­wyn St. Omer

My best Christ­mases have all re­volved around hav­ing my fam­ily present. I look for­ward to the Christ­mas sea­son be­cause it re­ally is a time to slow down and be with fam­ily. We’re so busy run­ning from one thing to the next ev­ery other day that it’s nice to have the hol­i­days to look for­ward to, when we can show the peo­ple we love just how much we ap­pre­ci­ate them! --- Joanna St Marthe

The magic of Christ­mas ap­pears to dwin­dle sig­nif­i­cantly past the age of 18. Christ­mas tra­di­tions seem to fade away as peo­ple grow up, move away, or just lose in­ter­est. Ask any­one born be­fore the 70s and they’ll tell you just how much the gen­er­a­tion of to­day does not ap­pre­ci­ate tra­di­tions. I am, as they call it, a mil­len­nial and I am sure there are many who will be quick to say our gen­er­a­tion is largely re­spon­si­ble for de­stroy­ing and dis­re­gard­ing tra­di­tions once con­sid­ered sacred, in­clud­ing those as­so­ci­ated with the Christ­mas sea­son. Some­where in that con­ver­sa­tion they’ll be sure to let you know that we are the un­for­tu­nate ones to not have lived at a time when Christ­mas tra­di­tions in Saint Lu­cia were alive and well! --- Saronella Jn Bap­tiste

I grew up by the sea­side in La Toc. Ev­ery Christ­mas we’d go from house to house. Peo­ple would come to your house from 6 a.m. One of our cousins used to wake us up ev­ery Christ­mas morn­ing; if we didn’t see him, we knew some­thing was wrong. When par­ents came, ev­ery­one came - chil­dren, ev­ery­body. We lived in Banan, right by the sea­side near La Toc. Things are dif­fer­ent now but, none­the­less, I al­ways look for­ward to the Christ­mas sea­son. --- San­dra Wil­liams

The Em­bassy of Mex­ico to the East­ern Caribbean States is thrilled to share with the peo­ple of Saint Lu­cia its mes­sage of Sea­son´s Greet­ings and best wishes for an ex­tremely pros­per­ous New Year. The Em­bassy is elated to be shar­ing another year de­vel­op­ing stronger ties and fos­ter­ing co­op­er­a­tion in the hopes of pro­mot­ing the de­vel­op­ment of Saint Lu­cia and the Greater Caribbean re­gion as a whole.

Mex­ico´s fes­tive sea­son runs from De­cem­ber 12th to Jan­uary 6th, com­menc­ing with the cel­e­bra­tion of the Day of the Vir­gin of Guadalupe and end­ing with “the Epiphany” (Day of the Three Kings). One of the most longed af­ter tra­di­tions dur­ing the sea­son for Mex­i­cans, es­pe­cially chil­dren, is the piñata. The tra­di­tion dates back to be­fore Christo­pher Colum­bus ar­rived in the Amer­i­cas and was used by the Aztecs to give of­fer­ings. How­ever, the Fran­cis­can mis­sion­ar­ies were re­spon­si­ble for pop­u­lar­iz­ing the piñata and mak­ing it a sta­ple of ev­ery Christ­mas party in Mex­ico, even­tu­ally reach­ing all cor­ners of the world.

This sea­son let us be more will­ing to help friends, fam­ily, the en­vi­ron­ment and com­plete strangers too. Let us cel­e­brate by giv­ing light to those who need it most. Let us rel­ish the spe­cial times we’ve shared and fill the house with laugh­ter. --- Em­bassy of Mex­ico fam­ily to yours

Mex­i­can Am­bas­sador Luis Manuel Lopez Moreno.

Saint Lu­cian Painter, Al­wyn St Omer

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