International Creole Day celebrated St Lucian Style
The Colour of Creole Heritage
Lucia’s history is a multi-faceted one, beginning with the early Amerindian settlers and continuing through the conquest of the Europeans, the introduction of slaves from Africa, and the subsequent employment of indentured servants from India.
Each ethnic group brought with them a set of traditions and cultures that merged into ‘creole,’ and became the backbone of Saint Lucia’s heritage. Although distinctive to this particular island, we share similarities with other Creole ethnicities around the world including other Caribbean islands, New Orleans and even some areas in Africa. Throughout October, the world celebrates the diverse and colourful nature of Creole culture, culminating in International Creole Day, which this year is on Oct 26.
In Saint Lucian patois, the big day is known as “Jounen Kwéyòl” and activities are centered around designated communities which change from year to year. Each community adds their own particular flair to the events, but one thing is for sure – wherever it may be held, this favourite local festival focuses on Creole heritage, food and drink.
During Jounen Kwéyòl, you may think the only language being spoken is St. Lucian “patois”, but fear not – most Lucians speak patois as a second language, and only in the very rural areas do you find folks who still speak it exclusively.
Rameau Poleon: Saint Lucian Creole musician extraordinaire.