Students, teachers, supporters of Saint Lucia’s cultural traditional art forms and members of the media were all part of the mini celebration which took place at the Cultural Development Foundation’s office building on Barnard Hill.
Of Saint Lucia’s two flower festivals, supporters of the Marguerite fraternity are considered the more docile and unassuming. As the gathering awaited the official start of the mid-morning launch, the popular belief held true until the master of ceremony, Tyrone Harris, Senior Events and Production Officer welcomed the eager guests. The pride and enthusiasm of the group was highly contagious as they energetically embraced every opportunity to belt “Viv la marguerite!!!” prompted by the various presenters and performers.
In her opening remarks, Drenia Frederick, Director of Events and Production pledged the Cultural Development Foundation’s support for the development of Saint Lucian traditions through the observances of the flower festivals. She assured the gathering that the future of culture was in good hands, sighting the presence of students from schools within the Castries area as testament to that fact. She however lamented the need for greater financial support from government and private sector enterprises in order to sustain our cultural traditions and practices as these ultimately define us as a people.
If the singing and dancing which took place on Tuesday is any indication of what the gwan fèt on October 17th will be, what an anticipated celebration! As is customary, a church service starts the day’s commemoration. Services will take place in Vieux Fort; where the gwan fèt will take place this year, Soufriere, Canaries and Castries. Special services will all commence at 10:00 a.m. where royal families, their court and staff and other members of the society will seek Divine guidance after which they will parade through the nearby streets. Pre-schools, Infant, Primary, Secondary, as well as Special Education Schools will join in the celebrations in areas within their school districts.
This year, the adult groups from Dennery, Aux Lyons, Derniere Riviere, Laborie and Vieux Fort will be part of the festivities which will commence at the Lady of the Assumption in Vieux Fort. A parade featuring the participating groups will take them around the Vieux Fort Square from 12:00 noon after which entertaining and captivating presentations will be made.
A group of students from the Anse La Raye Infant and Primary Schools will pay a courtesy visit to the Governor General of Saint Lucia, Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy following the parade around the Derek Walcott Square, which over twenty schools are expected to be a part of. The tradition of honouring persons who have contributed to the preservation of traditions and practices remains one of this year’s highlights.
The formality began in 2011, when Frank Norville was recognised for his service in traditional culture. In 2012, tribute was paid to Alexandrine Stanisclaus followed by Ginerva Lambert in 2013. Recognition of another patriotic Saint Lucian is expected this year, whose identity will be revealed on the grand feast day, October 17th.