Christmas in St Lucia ARC and Mango Bowl Regatta
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
Masqueraders dance through the
streets to celebrate the season