December Festivals 2017

 

The official end of a calendar year which signals the start of yet another, provides an opportunity for reflection, an outpouring of gratitude and a purposeful commitment for renewal. It seems only natural then that the month of December would be associated with celebration and feasting.  The December Festivals are a series of traditional and historical festivals which bring Saint Lucians together in the spirit of community through artistic creativity with the use of light – a symbol of rebirth.  Saint Lucia’s Day or Saint Lucy’s Day; the feast day of the patron saint of light, is celebrated on December 13th.  Her feast once coincided with the shortest day of the year before calendar reforms, so that the feast day was considered a festival of light; “a beacon of brightness” in the darkest time of year. The December Festivals with their collective theme of devotion and celebration are a precursor to this major feast.

Today, the December Festivals are an eclectic mix of Saint Lucian culture that merges into a spirit-filled contemporary celebration of the Christmas Season.  The three (3) major events of the December Festivals are:

  • The Lantern Festival – an inventive and competitive showcase of lantern making where youth, adults, artists, families and schools test their creative skills. Around this time, in years gone by, families would hang lanterns out in their balconies in honour of the patron saint.  The festival keeps this tradition alive through the display of hand-crafted lanterns.
  • The Festival of Carols – a captivating performance of master choirs and vocalists from around Saint Lucia.                  
  • The Festival of Light – an innovative spectacle of lights in the city centre accompanied by the Parade of lanterns.

The traditional Lantern Festival – a competition showcasing creative prowess takes place at the National Cultural Centre on Saturday December 2nd, 2017.  The lanterns are judged and prizes are awarded with special consideration given to the skill level employed in the creations.

Music as a form of emotional expression never fails to lift spirits and inspire.  Through the Festival of Carols, vocalists, chorales and choirs from around the island, spanning across denominations congregate and lift their voices in celestial chorus for the creation of a spirit-filled atmosphere.  From 7:30 p.m. on Sunday December 3rd, the chorale groups/singers will perform at the Holy Family Parish, Jacmel.

Throughout human history, light has always been used as a metaphor for progression toward the attainment of knowledge and as a symbol of rebirth and hope.  The Festival of Light on Tuesday December 12th, celebrates the close of a year with a spirit of gratitude for the blessings of the past and a hopeful heart of “goodwill and prosperity” for the year ahead.

The festivities will begin from 7:00 p.m. with a street masquerade from the City Hall on Peynier Street in Castries, around the Derek Walcott Square which will be followed by a themed concert incorporating music, dancing, drama and lights at 7:30 p.m. The anticipated “switching on of the lights” will close off the concert. followed by a celebratory fireworks display.

 

 

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