The Marguerite Festival, honouring Patron Saint Marguerite-Marie Alacoque, is celebrated on October 17 every year in a community selected by Marguerite groups from around the island, when they meet before the season commences.
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 festivities is the flavour of music with both African and European elements. Musicians, including a singer chantè (male) or chantwèl (female) and instrumentalists such as violinists, drummers, and other percussionists, carry the tone of the activities with singing and dancing.
This year’s celebrations include the honouring of elderly La Magwit members by the Laborie La Magwit Group. This activity will constitute a church service on Sunday, October 9, at the Laborie R.C. Church from 8:00 a.m. and the featured session from 3:00 p.m. at the Laborie Village Square.
On Friday, October 14, a spectacular séance will take place on the Dennery Beach Front from 8:00 p.m. where all La Magwit groups are expected to attend as they warm up for the annual main event.
Dennery is the community selected to host this year’s gwan fèt and the fishing village will pull out all the stops commencing with a church service at the St. Peter Roman Catholic Church from 10:00 a.m. on Monday, October 17. An elaborate parade will follow from 11:00 a.m. through the main street in Dennery to the grounds of the Dennery Multi-Purpose Centre, where group presentations by each participating group will take place.
Groups from Aux Lyons, Vieux Fort, Dernière Rivière, Dennery, Laborie, Richfond Combined School and the Saint Lucia National Trust will all converge in Dennery for the grand celebration with music, dancing and singing. Following the presentations, groups will return to their communities where the celebrations will continue well into the night.