Culture is that little extra something to convince us that there is more to appreciate than the mundanities of legally existing within the confines of preset boarders. Tradition is often a vivid reminder that our present state directly correlates with significant past events. Together, culture and tradition often make for a grand time and great memories. On the night of December 12, Saint Lucia ‘s capital city was illuminated by the beautiful fusion in another edition of the Festival of Lights.
Whether they were simply home-bound commuters who had taken a brief detour or persons who had travelled into the city to enjoy the festival, Castries was dotted with onlookers whose ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ could be heard over incessant, rhythmic drumming. The event began with the annual parade from the City Hall to the Derek Walcott Square, this year fronted by bikers from the Easy Cruisers Riding Club. Towering over the crowd were stilt walkers from Mokoflix who, along with dancers from the Silver Shadows Dance Academy and Fire Eaters Stars Inc, were seen rocking along the city’s streets to drum beats from the Lapo Kabwit drummers, Vide Bouteille Combined Secondary School and Marchand Youth Music Group. The skillfully crafted lanterns from last week’s Lantern Competition were also dazzling spectacles, proudly held aloft by their owners as part of the procession.
Once the parade ended, the Derek Walcott Square came alive with the sounds and sights of the night’s festivities. There were unforgetable performances from Boo Hinkson, Protege The Band, Kristian Lawrence, Linda ‘Chocolate’ Berthia, and The Calabashers, amongst others.
The Cultural Development Foundation’s (CDF) Tyrone Harris, Castries Mayor Peterson D Francis, Taiwanese Ambassador Douglas C.T Shen, reigning carnival queen Chancy Fontenelle and the Minister for Local Government and Culture Fortuna Belrose addressed the crowd to highlight the significance of the event and Saint Lucian culture.
At approximately 11:00pm anticipation peaked and was subsequently satisfied when the lights decorating Castries were ceremoniously switched on and fireworks were unleashed into the night’s sky. During and after the event rave reviews from onlookers came in, some expressing gratitude for the festival’s success, saying it was a more-than-welcome change from the usual misconduct known for taking place in Castries.
Saint Lucia’s Festival of Lights traditionally marks the beginning of the island’s Christmas season and serves as a formal welcoming of December 13 which, according to CDF “is the day associated with Saint Lucia or Saint Lucy, the patron saint of light, symbolizing the triumph of light conquering dark, good overcoming evil and the renewal of life.”