The annual Asou Square celebrations will be held in the city of Castries on January 1 -3, 2016 with a fresh new look. Asou Square is a New Year’s celebration which dates back to the seventies here in Saint Lucia. It was originally held at the Columbus Square (now Derek Walcott Square), hence the Creole name ‘Asou’ which means “on the Square.” The event afforded families a chance to converge in one spot to usher in the New Year. The event traditionally featured board games, horse rides, and toys for the children, barbecued chicken and fish and floats/bakes, accras and cotton candy. Matinee shows at the nearby Clarke’s and Gaiety cinemas were a fixture during this time. Asou Square was also seen as a way of closing the festive Christmas season and ushering in a New Year.
Over the years this traditional activity has been moved to various locations for one reason or another. It was held along the John Compton Highway near the Vigie playing field for several years when it was moved from its original home before being moved once again to the Pigeon Island Causeway. Asou Square was later held at Beausejour and Cul-De-Sac before returning to Vigie. This year Asou Square returns to its original home on the DWS in Castries. Much to the delight of many, the event seeks to bring back some of the old traditions while hosting entertainment activities on a stage inside the square.
The traditional look of the event, characterized by galvanized sheeting and wooden huts, was much to the chagrin of some. For this year’s event, that has changed – for the better. For Asou Square 2016 the wooden and galvanized food and drink stalls have been replaced by white canvas and wooden tents. By Tuesday the tents were already neatly positioned along three streets bordering the Square: Micoud Street, Laborie Street and Bourbon Street. The forty impressive ten feet by ten feet tents were recently purchased by the Castries City Council and will be rented out to vendors for the two-day event. An additional 15 tents will be sourced locally.
Asou Square gets underway following midnight mass on Thursday December 31. The event was originally planned for two days. However after vendors complained that the two days would not allow them time to recoup their investments, acting police commissioner Errol Alexander granted the additional day. The event will now end on Sunday January 3 at 10 PM.
This year the Ministry of Creative Industries is spearheading efforts to ensure that there is never a dull moment during the festivities. For this reason part of the inside of the square has been reserved as an entertainment zone and will feature Saint Lucian entertainers from the traditional to the contemporary.