The Jounen Kwéyòl af­ter To­mas

The Star (St. Lucia) - - CULTURE -

Con­sid­er­ing that Jounen Kwéyòl was more or less a com­plete wash-out in 2010, peo­ple came back in 2011 ea­ger and ex­cited to take in Saint Lucia’s pre­mier Cre­ole fes­ti­val. Thank­fully there were no dis­ap­point­ments in terms of a “To­mas part two” com­ing through, which was some­thing most peo­ple talked about as the day neared. Apart from the scat­tered show­ers that weather re­ports pre­dicted, bad weather was the last thing to worry about that year.

The search for the ul­ti­mate Cre­ole ex­pe­ri­ence took Saint Lu­cians to com­mu­ni­ties like Den­nery, Anse La Raye, La­borie and other ar­eas on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 30. For most the oc­ca­sion was all about get­ting in touch with their Cre­ole roots, and ap­pre­ci­at­ing the is­land’s cul­ture, par­tic­u­larly that of mu­sic, food and old time games and dances. Al­though it’s need­less to say, Jounen Kwéyòl was, for a lot of peo­ple, more of a food fes­ti­val than any­thing else. Peo­ple could take in the best of Cre­ole mu­sic in the midst of great com­pany but were more fo­cused on eat­ing any and ev­ery­thing un­der the sun! There’s noth­ing quite like the food that comes out around Cre­ole time—green fig and salt fish, bouil­lon, floats, bread­fruit with salt fish, salted sar­dines or smoked her­ring, crab callalou, bwigo, roasted bread­fruit, cray­fish, lo­cal juices, co­coa tea, which is what ev­ery­one missed from the pre­vi­ous year.

In Anse La Raye that Sun­day there was an en­tire pro­gramme of ac­tiv­i­ties planned, which in­cluded a mas­quer­ade through the vil­lage or­gan­ised by the Soufriere Ac­tion Theatre, per­for­mances by the Ce­cil­ian Rays, steel pan mu­sic and ca­lypso per­for­mances. There were a host of ac­tiv­i­ties tak­ing place in the fish­ing vil­lage and, as part of the oc­ca­sion, el­derly folk were shown ap­pre­ci­a­tion for their con­tri­bu­tions in var­i­ous ar­eas, in­clud­ing farm­ing, fish­ing, teach­ing, sports and more, by be­ing gifted at a small cer­e­mony.

De­spite the usual traf­fic prob­lem of get­ting from place to place, ev­ery venue was packed with peo­ple from all over the is­land. Get­ting into Den­nery was a night­mare and once peo­ple got there later in the day the mud was an­other slight set­back. One thing’s for sure as it is ev­ery year: early birds cer­tainly got the best of ev­ery­thing. Some peo­ple set out from the wee hours, had break­fast in one place, lunch in an­other and an over­all good time at ev­ery other venue if they chose to brave the traf­fic. Those who stayed home with their own fam­ily had just as good a time, mak­ing the na­tional fes­ti­val one of the big­gest an­nual cel­e­bra­tions in Saint Lucia!

Af­ter cel­e­bra­tions came to an abrupt end in Oc­to­ber 2010, things picked up with full force for Jounen Kweyol the next year.

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