Christ­mas in St Lu­cia ARC and Mango Bowl Re­gatta

Tropical Traveller Magazine - - TABLE OF CONTENTS -

The end of one cal­en­dar year and the start of another pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity for re­flec­tion, grat­i­tude and pur­pose­ful com­mit­ment to re­newal. It seems only nat­u­ral that the month of De­cem­ber should be as­so­ci­ated with cel­e­bra­tion and feast­ing.

In Saint Lu­cia, the De­cem­ber Fes­ti­vals are a se­ries of tra­di­tional and his­tor­i­cal fes­tiv­i­ties which bring Saint Lu­cians to­gether in the spirit of com­mu­nity, cel­e­bra­tion and re­birth. In fact, Saint Lu­cia’s Na­tional Day is De­cem­ber 13th, the feast day of Saint Lucy, who hap­pens to be the Catholic pa­tron saint of light.

In an­cient cal­en­dars, Saint Lucy’s feast once co­in­cided with the short­est day of win­ter which is why it was con­sid­ered a fes­ti­val of light, “a bea­con of bright­ness” in the dark­est time of year. The De­cem­ber Fes­ti­vals, with their col­lec­tive theme of de­vo­tion and cel­e­bra­tion, were a pre­cur­sor to this ma­jor feast.

To­day, the De­cem­ber Fes­ti­vals are an eclec­tic mix of Saint Lu­cian cul­ture that merges into a spirit-filled, con­tem­po­rary cel­e­bra­tion of the Christ­mas Sea­son. The three main events are: • The Lan­tern Fes­ti­val Around this time in years gone by, fam­i­lies would hang lanterns on their bal­conies in hon­our of the is­land’s pa­tron saint. The Lan­tern Fes­ti­val keeps this tra­di­tion alive through a showcase of lan­tern- mak­ing, where chil­dren, adults, artists, fam­i­lies and schools test their cre­ative skills and com­pete for ti­tles. The lanterns are judged and prizes are awarded, with spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tion given to the skill level em­ployed in the cre­ations. • The Fes­ti­val of Car­ols Mu­sic is a form of emo­tional ex­pres­sion which never fails to lift spir­its and in­spire. Through the Fes­ti­val of Car­ols, vo­cal­ists, chorales and choirs from around the is­land, and across de­nom­i­na­tions, con­gre­gate and lift their voices in ce­les­tial cho­rus which truly cap­tures the spirit of the fes­tive sea­son. • The Fes­ti­val of Light Through­out hu­man his­tory, light has been used as a metaphor for pro­gres­sion to­ward the at­tain­ment of knowl­edge, and as a sym­bol of re­birth and hope. In Saint Lu­cia, the Fes­ti­val of Light cel­e­brates the close of a year with a spirit of grat­i­tude for the bless­ings of the past and a hope­ful heart of “good­will and pros­per­ity” for the year ahead.

Top Left & Right: The cre­ativ­ity of the Lan­tern Fes­ti­val

The mu­sic of Christ­mas in the spot­light at the Fes­ti­val of Car­ols

Sym­bolic Good­will Lanterns float off to the Caribbean from

Castries Har­bour

Mas­quer­aders dance through the

streets to cel­e­brate the sea­son

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