The Jounen Kwéyòl after Tomas
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.