International Creole Month is celebrated in St. Lucia with a month of differing activities, spearheaded by the Folk Research Centre. The celebration began this year on September 30th and will culminate on October 30th the Saint Lucian Creole Day, Jounen Kwéyòl Sentlisi. International Creole Day, Jounen Kwéyòl Entennasyonnal, is celebrated October 28th.
Creole Month festivities include story telling in lyrical Kweyol or Fèsten Kont épi Listwa, Fèt Magwit (La Marguerite Flower Festival), Creole dance Fiesta, Creole Tea Party, Creole Fashion Show and Creole Film Festival. There will be community awareness events in the form of Creole Programme for Students, Cultural Literacy Workshop for Adults, Creole Art & Craft Exhibition and Kwéyòl Literacy Course. There will also be the Konpétisyon Lawenn Kwéyòl, the Creole Queen Pageant and the Konpétisyon Jennès Kwéyòl (Creole Youth Pageant).
Konpétisyon Woulélaba or Woulélaba Competition is one of the highlights of the celebration. Woulélaba is a local version of cricket though less formal and increases excitement in the local spectator. The game is usually played between two communities. There are several activities which surround the game such as cultural performance of cultural traditions, informal betting on teams, sale of food and drink and often a public dance at the end of the day. At any of these celebrations, visitors and locals can also enjoy tasty dishes such as fishcakes, bwapain woti (roasted breadfruit) and the national dish, greenfig and saltfish.
Dr. Kentry D Jn Pierre, Executive Director of the Folk Research Centre (Plas Wichès Foklò) states: Jounen Kwéyòl is celebrated in St. Lucia every year on the Sunday which is closest to International Creole Day (October 28th). It represents the grand climax of Creole Heritage Month during which there is a national programme of cultural and education activities in various communities. The main activities usually take place in four communities that are specifically selected as host communities for the particular year. Thousands of people flock these communities to participate in the celebration. Standard activities in each host community include a Creole Mass; a massive Creole Food and Drink Fair; an indoor exhibition of Creole technology, equipment and items depicting the folk life of the ancestors of modern day St Lucians; outdoor demonstrations of traditional technologies and other folk traditions; cultural performances throughout the day, and; other community-specific spontaneous activities. On that day St. Lucians are also encouraged to speak the Creole language as much as possible.
In order to showcase, now and in the future, authentic St. Lucian heritage, the Folk Research Centre attaches much importance to the documentation of the events on Jounen Kwéyòl. Such documentation facilitates the Centre’s ongoing programme of cultural education and the development of St Lucian people and communities.