De­bunk­ing the ‘death’ of Jounen Kwéyòl

The Star (St. Lucia) - - ENTERTAINMENT -

If you ask any Saint Lu­cian what their favourite time of year is, chances are the an­swer will be ‘Jounen Kwéyòl’. Cel­e­brated this year on Oc­to­ber 29, Jounen Kwéyòl cel­e­bra­tions are an ex­pres­sion of Saint Lu­cian her­itage. This is a chance to bask in our tra­di­tions: the food, the mu­sic, the folk­lore and the dress. Lo­cals, as well as vis­i­tors, can ex­pect to en­joy foods like pig­tail or chicken bouil­lon, ac­cra, smoked her­ring, bread­nuts, roasted bakes and salt fish, and co­coa tea.

Jounen Kwéyòl fes­tiv­i­ties have taken place since 1984, and the se­lected lo­ca­tions for this year are Babon­neau in the north, Den­nery in the east, Vieux Fort in the south and Marigot in the west. Each lo­ca­tion will fea­ture food, en­ter­tain­ment and mu­sic, and large crowds try­ing to get in on the cui­sine and the gen­eral am­biance of it all.

This year, Jounen Kwéyòl seems to be very much alive, with the en­tire month of Oc­to­ber filled with an­tic­i­pa­tion for the last Sun­day of that month.

Groups of friends are known to or­gan­ise roundthe-is­land trips and stop at every lo­ca­tion. Fab­ric stores are never short of clien­tele as per­sons come to pick and choose which madras pat­tern will go best with the cloth­ing style they en­vi­sioned. Ar­ti­sans, too, con­trib­ute to the ob­vi­ous pres­ence of the fes­tive at­mos­phere by sell­ing brooches, rib­bons and other ac­ces­sories made from madras.

In some ways Jounen Kwéyòl may have strayed from be­ing deep-set in tra­di­tion and folk­lore, and be­come cen­tred on pop­u­lar cul­ture. In­deed, more fo­cus is placed on what out­fit to have made, rather than wear­ing a wob dwiyet, and what new in­gre­di­ents can be added to tra­di­tional dishes rather than stick­ing to the norm. This is sim­ply the evo­lu­tion of our cul­ture. The younger gen­er­a­tion is merely adapt­ing the age-old prac­tices to fit the so­ci­ety that ex­ists in 2017. Some of these adap­ta­tions are es­pe­cially seen in the mu­sic of the younger gen­er­a­tion – kuduro and other cre­ole-ori­ented lyrics.

It is dif­fi­cult to ac­cept that Jounen Kwéyòl is dead, as some might sug­gest. Tra­di­tional cre­ole break­fasts re­main some­thing to look for­ward to. Lo­cal busi­ness places and schools cater to their cus­tomers, staff and stu­dents. Massy stores, LUC­ELEC and oth­ers ad­ver­tised break­fast for cus­tomers on Fri­day Oc­to­ber 27. On so­cial me­dia the ex­cite­ment was pal­pa­ble, with per­sons shar­ing pic­tures of their food, and plans for the cre­ole week­end.

For the scep­tics and be­liev­ers of the death of our much loved Jounen Kwéyòl, they must re­mem­ber: Jounen Kwéyòl pa sa jan­men mò! (Jounen kwéyòl can never die!)

In many ways, tra­di­tion still reigns for the much-loved Jounen Kwéyòl cel­e­bra­tions.

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