Flower Festivals of Saint Lucia
La Rose (La Wòz) and La Marguerite (La Magwit) are as uniquely Saint Lucian in identity and location as the iconic pitons. Dating back across generations, each Flower’s celebration unveils elaborate pageantry reminiscent of European court, but with their music richly evocative of Africa. A unique anthropological study, Saint Lucia’s Flower festivals are the invention of the peasant class who stage a parody of the social superiors. A “king’ and a “Queen’ preside over every ‘society’ which is comprised of mock princes and princesses, military, legal and service personnel.
Photos provided by Raymona Henry-Wynne
Flower ‘societies’ exist across the island; Groups hold weekly song-filled séances, which consists of all night singing and dancing sessions where drinks are sold and various games played. The Central figure at the séance is the Chantwelle/Chanteur (lead singer) who sustains the spirit and tenor of the evening’s entertainment. The instruments are rustic and include the anba goj (violin), banjo, quatro, guitar, shak-shak, baha, gwaj (grater), and drums
The Flower societies each have its own highly animated season lasting several weeks and culminating in a feast day full of splendour and spectacle. La Wòz celebrations coincide with the feast of Saint Rose De Lima on August 30. La Magwit is the feast of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, observed on October 17, each year. On feast day, all members of the society, dressed in costumes of the respective roles march to church for the service which precedes their parade through the streets before returning to the venue for the Grand Fete.
The Cultural Development Foundation invites our friends in the diaspora and beyond to join Saint Lucian’s as we journey to the various communities to experience and enjoy this dramatic authentic festival.
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