Why isn’t Monday a holiday?’ was a sentiment shared by so many Saint Lucians, and expressed just how eventful the creole weekend really was. Going to every designated Jounen Kwéyòl location, and then some, was at the top of many to-do lists for the past weekend. Many may have started in Babonneau, gone down to Dennery, through Vieux Fort and back up through Marigot, while making stops in communities like Laborie, which featured their own celebrations.
An abundance of food: pig tail bouillon, crab, lobster, breadnuts, and even horse meat; drinks, music and people were the norm in each community. Exhibitions of traditional technologies and practices, and even the construction of a thatched house in Dennery, were used as a means of educating Saint Lucians about their heritage. Jounen Kwéyòl was marketed as not just a street party where persons would come to buy food, but an environment where you could also learn about the times past.
This year’s Jounen Kwéyòl celebration drew large crowds in each community, and received rave reviews, especially from the Minister responsible for Culture, Fortuna Belrose. Minister Belrose referred to the events of Sunday October 29 as ‘successful, productive and fruitful’ and saw them as a chance to ‘rekindle’ our heritage, especially in the younger generation.
The activities which took place within the city on Friday, and the myriad of activities which took place across the island over the weekend, received positive feedback from locals and tourists alike, and were endorsed by Minister Belrose who, all in all, was ‘quite happy’ with the way things went.
This year, Jounen Kwéyòl festivities were held under the umbrella of Soleil Summer Festival, which allowed for collaboration with the Cultural Development Foundation, Events St Lucia and the Folk Research Centre. Minister Belrose also indicated that with these collaborations, more money could be allocated to each community for the organisation of their Jounen Kwéyòl activities.
Executive Director of the Folk Research Centre, Hilary La Force, showered praises on all the organising bodies of this year’s events. He complimented the way in which the fringe activities were hosted, and boasted their success. La Force seemed especially impressed with the Jounen Kwéyòl set up in Dennery – the décor, the number of people and the exhibitions which served to educate the public.
According to Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, Creole day celebrations are well poised to be the biggest celebration in Saint Lucia after the carnival season.