Fèt Magwit heats up

GIS: A Gwan Séyans will take place on Friday, Oct. 13, on the Mabouya Valley Playing Field in Dennery.

The Marguerite Festival (Fèt Magwit), honouring Patron Saint Marguerite-Marie Alacoque, is celebrated annually in Saint Lucia on Oct. 17, in a community selected by Marguerite groups from around the island.

The festival is unique to Saint Lucia and has both religious and social significance.

Traditions of song and dance are handed down from older generations to the young, succeeding members of the floral society. The celebration consists of parades of royal parties (kings, queens, princes, princesses), members of the judiciary (magistrates, lawyers, police officers, soldiers) and affluent professionals of present-day society (doctors, nurses). One of the major highlights of the festival is the music, that incorporates both African and European elements. Musicians, including a singer—chantè (m.) or chantwèl (f.)—and instrumentalists such as violinists, banjo players, drummers, and other percussionists, carry the tone of the activities with singing and dancing.

In preparation for the grand celebration (gwan fèt), groups host mock activities (séyans) which serve as fundraising events before the big day. The members of the floral society rehearse their roles led by music and singers whose infectious singing encourage dancing and participation.

This year’s celebration includes a Gwan Séyans that will take place on Friday, Oct. 13, on the Mabouya Valley Playing Field in the fishing village of Dennery from 7 – 10 p.m. Participating groups include Dennery, Aux Lyons, Richfond, Grand Riviere, Vieux-Fort, Laborie and Derniere Riviere.

On Monday, Oct. 16, a Schools Church Service is scheduled for the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Castries at 10 a.m.

On the feast day, Tuesday, Oct. 17, the vibrant village of Laborie will welcome celebrants and well-wishers for the Gwan Fèt. The day’s celebrations will commence with a church service led by Fr. Albert Smith, and assisted by Fr. Athanase Joseph at the Church of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at 9:30 a.m. An elaborate parade will follow at 11 a.m. through the streets of Laborie. From 1 p.m., groups will gather at the Desmond Collymore Park, where they will each make presentations in acknowledgement of the globe amaranth (flower). In the evening, groups will return to their respective communities where they will continue the celebration.

The 2017 Fet La Magwit activity schedule is attached.