In­ter­na­tional Cre­ole Day cel­e­brated St Lu­cian Style

The Colour of Cre­ole Her­itage

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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.

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