Jounen Kweyol – St Lucia

Jounen Kweyol - St Lucia
Jounen Kweyol Ste Lucie

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
to see:

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…

Kirk Elliott Sign

BadAss St Lucia Photographer

About The Author
avatar for Kirk Elliott
Kirk Elliott

Kirk Elliott is an award-winning St Lucia Photographer, Sustainable Tourism Advocate and National Geographic Certified Educator. Kirk is the Founder/CEO of the St Lucia Photo, ranked by TripAdvisor as one of the Top Outdoor Activities in Saint Lucia and one of the Top 5 Photo Tours in the Caribbean. Kirk is passionate about sharing Authentic Saint Lucia Culture, History and Cuisine for a unique perspective of this Caribbean Gem he calls home... |

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2 thoughts on “Jounen Kweyol – St Lucia

  1. 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!

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