Jounen Kweyol – St Lucia
St Lucia is culturally both rich and diverse – in
no small measure due to the fact that the island
changed hands a total of 14 times, having been
7 times British and 7 times French…
And once a year there’s a day set aside to celebrate
this rich cultural diversity and this day is called
Jounen Kweyol – in our Creole language or
Creole Day – translated into English
Jounen Kweyol – pronounced Jou-nay Kway-ol –
where you literally place the sound of the letter K
before the word “way” – is celebrated on the last
Sunday in October throughout Saint Lucia.
Various communities are designated Official
Jounen Kweyol locations with the venues changing
from year to year. At each location you will
generally find traditional local food on sale.
This is a day when rice and flour and pasta are no
where to be found. Instead you can get to sample
our local ground provisions such as yams, green
bananas, breadfruit and dasheen, with stew pork,
river caught crayfish, octopus and smoked herring,
among other island delicacies, as the meat of the day
And all of this would be incomplete without a bit of
zaboca (avocado in English) on the side. Our Kweyol
attire is the madras fabric as pictured on the kids in
the picture above and plenty of styles abound…
And no Jounen Kweyol is complete without signs of
how things were done long ago. From the wooden toy
trucks as pictured above, to tops made from the
trunk or sturdy branch of a guava tree…
And many a story is told by the older folk of top spinning
games where the aim was to land your top right atop
an already spinning top and that if you got it just right
your top would split open the one that it landed atop!
Ah, such was the simple fun we enjoyed back then…
It is also popular to see traditional Kweyol bands with
their classic banjo and to see cane juice being squeezed
through a press and tree trunks being hewn into boards
by two men operating the biggest saw one ever did see…
Jounen Kweyol is truly a treat to behold as we continue
to embrace and celebrate our culture… and in more recent
times I have been very happy to see visitors coming to
check out the activities.
And on that note there are two things that I’d really love
1. More visitors coming out to experience this unique
aspect of our culture – complete with local guides to
every 5 or so visitors…Imagine a guy from New Hampshire
decked out in a madras outfit helping to hew some wood.
…Then just imagine a picture of this as his Christmas Card
captioned ” My Magical Time In St Lucia…Wish you
were there too… Anyhow – Merry Christmas To You…”
2. And the other thing I’d love to see is for St Lucia to give up
the Thanks Giving Holiday and make the Monday after Jounen
Kweyol a holiday instead. Heaven knows that I could have done
with that Monday holiday the year I helped stage Jounen Kweyol
in my community and finally left for home with the rest of the
team at 3:00 AM on the Monday Morning …Ouch!
Tell me what you think of these two ideas as I’d really love to know…
BadAss St Lucia Photographer
2 thoughts on “Jounen Kweyol – St Lucia”
My idea is to have readers thinking of the possibilities that abound around us…
Great ideas Kirk. My issue is never WHAT, I’m a big fan of HOW; giving ideas of what needs to happen to achieve our objectives.
Good Stuff bro!