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Viv La Magwit

Image: La Magwit followers celebrating.

THE Cultural Development Foundation (CDF) is elated to wish Saint Lucians far and wide a bon Fèt La Magwit! Members of the Marguerite Flower Society celebrate their grand feast day, on October 17th. The Festival forms part of activities for Creole Heritage Month and is being presented by the Cultural Development Foundation in collaboration with the Monsignor Patrick Anthony Folk Research Centre and Events Company of Saint Lucia.

Groups from around the island have been conducting the traditional fundraising activity; the séyans, in their respective communities, all in anticipation of the annual celebration. Fèt La Magwit is the celebration of one of two “floral societies which expresses an exhaustive system of mock administration from a royal family to an army, police force, judiciary, health service, and education system,” (from The Flower Festivals of Saint Lucia, Hon. Msgr. Patrick A. B. Anthony) among others. A total of nine groups are registered and based in various communities around Saint Lucia. Each group holds séances in the lead up to the grand feast day, which consists of all night singing and dancing sessions. The central figure at the séance is the chantwèl (female singer) or chantè (male singer), who sustains the spirit and tenor of the evening’s entertainment.

The GwanFèt is celebrated annually and the festivities include the GwanFet and School’s Church Service. This year, the GwanFèt takes places in the community of Mon Repos. Participating groups will in brilliant fashion parade the main community streets to the Church of St Anne where a church service will take place from 10:00 a.m., after which they will make dramatic presentations all in admiration and honour of the symbolic marguerite flower on the grounds of the Mon Repos R.C Combined.

Schools from the northern districts in Saint Lucia have been invited to participate in this year’s Fèt La Magwit with a church service at the Church of Our Lady of Fatima in La Clery, Castries, whilst schools in the southern districts are encouraged to participate in the service and celebrations in Mon Repos.

The Cultural Development Foundation (CDF) is hopeful that the objectives of creating greater public awareness of the festival in terms of its history, purpose and the elements that make up the festival as well as encouraging greater private sector participation in the festival will be met. The CDF urges the public to come out in large numbers to experience a spectacular celebration of Saint Lucian tradition. Viv La Magwit!

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