Festival of Lights

Festival of Light traditionally marks the start of the Christmas season in Saint Lucia, celebrated on December 13th, the day associated with Saint Lucia or Saint Lucy, the patron saint of light, symbolizing the triumph of light conquering dark, good overcoming evil and the renewal of life.

There has been a long tradition in Saint Lucia at this time of year, of the creation of lanterns to be hung originally in doorways of homes to ‘light the way’ and this has grown in more recent years into a creative competition that starts off the celebrations around the first week of December. In this Lantern Competition, youth and adult enthusiasts alike, make all manner of lanterns from natural materials, recycled materials and bright and colourful papers depicting wide varieties of themes, for instance local calypso or other artistic or social events; historical buildings or everyday objects; abstract patterns that play with light and colour trough to fantastical creatures of imagination.

This celebration of light culminates on the eve of Saint Lucia Day, with the actual ‘Festival of Light’ under the patronage of the Office of the Governor General of Saint Lucia.  Starting with the Parade of Lanterns in the streets of Castries, accompanied by a variety show of Christmas songs and dance, followed by the turning on of the lights on the Derek Walcott Square and finally a fireworks display. Many business houses still also practice the tradition of lighting up on December 13th.

In 2013, a new element was added to the Festival of Light celebrations: the Lantern Ritual – where a musical procession to the Harbour, led by traditional masqueraders, was followed by setting paper lanterns on the calm waters, with the patrons’ wishes and prayers for the season and beyond.

One Response to Festival of Lights

  1. […] the use of light – a symbol of rebirth.  One of the highlights of the December Festivals is the Lantern Festival – a unique and extravagant expression of creativity through […]

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