The city’s skies were set ablaze with a fireworks display on Friday December 11th, bringing an end to what has been described as a remarkable Festival of Light ceremony. The Christmas-themed production was staged at the Derek Walcott Square, one day earlier than the traditional December 12th date due to an unforeseen clash of events within close proximity on the day in question. Despite the setback however, the ceremony was rescheduled and took place under the auspices of the Governor General of Saint Lucia, her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy. The pre-national day celebration, spearheaded by the Cultural Development Foundation (CDF), is one of the more popular activities on the national calendar of events to usher in Saint Lucia’s Day or National Day on December 13th coinciding with the feast day of Saint Lucy of Syracuse, the patron saint of Saint Lucia. The celebration of the feast of Saint Lucy is tied with the celebration of “light” as the name “Lucy” means “light” in Latin. December 13th is set aside to celebrate “all things Saint Lucian”. The parade of lanterns, switching on of lights and the fireworks display, all add to the splendour on the night to symbolize renewal and rebirth.
The Festival of Light ceremony is one of three festivals which takes place during the month of December, sustaining a tradition of capturing Saint Lucians’ artistic prowess through the arts. The Festival of Light incorporates elements of all the December festivals. On December 11th this year, long before the 7:30 p.m. scheduled start for the night’s proceedings, the Soufrican drummers began evoking a festive spirit which brought visitors and Saint Lucians to the Castries Town Hall as they danced and sang to the infectious drum beats. The singing and dancing continued throughout the official parade and included fire eaters, masqueraders, stilt walkers, enthusiastically spurred on by the drummers from Soufriere. Participants of the lantern competition proudly displayed their brilliant creations from the Castries Town Hall into the Derek Walcott Square where an eager gathering awaited them. Later that evening, the winners were announced to an immensely appreciative audience. The Lantern Competition which took place on Saturday December 5th, followed a series of training workshops during the month of November at various locations around the island. The lantern-making workshops were facilitated by Sean Greaves, Gary Butte, Vivian duBoulay, Shawn Francis, and Delthia Naitram in Laborie, Desruisseaux, District 4, Castries and at the Boys’ Training Centre.
Narrated by Shakeem Goddard, Anarcisse Alexander and Kevon Edwin, the scripted production took the audience on a journey to find the spirit of light in a world which is at times seems filled with overwhelming darkness. Performances came from Dance Saint Lucia, the Ave Maria Girls’ Primary School Choir, Dalonya Joseph, Nicole St. Croix, Adrian “Drii Notes” Klien, A.S.A.P., Heart & Soul, the Silver Shadow Dance Academy, the Royal Saint Lucian Police Band, Arthur, Nintus and Invader. Deputy Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Honourable Phillip Pierre officially switched on the Christmas lights which was immediately followed by a display of fireworks during which the Royal Saint Lucia Police band wished all present compliments of the season, through music.
The night was one of splendour, brilliance and beauty with support from the corporate community. The Cultural Development Foundation is grateful for the assistance provided by Bank of Saint Lucia Limited, Windward Islands Packaging Company Limited (WINERA), Saint Lucia Distillers Limited, Guardsman (Saint Lucia) Limited, National Television Network (NTN) and Calabash TV (ALLBIZ Limited).