Coming out of a two-year hiatus, Saint Lucia Carnival 2022 was quite a delightful experience for many, as was seen during the season.
The extravaganza is now over. Its dust is now settled and the winners have been announced. Social media is aglow of how successful it has been, on almost all fronts. A post mortem is now underway, so too are preparations for Carnival 2023.
From our vantage point it appears that Carnival 2022 left quite a mark, as it was violence free, meaning violent skirmishes which usually take place during carnival, particularly during the street parade of the bands, did not occur.
With violent crimes battering the country on all sides over the past few weeks and months, there was speculation that this year’s mass event would have attracted some level of violence. Behold, this was not to be, and for this we are grateful.
Social media postings stated that it was a highly enjoyable affair for many, while the Carnival Planning and Management Committee said the various events making up the extravaganza recorded an increase in numbers, even events which were live streamed.
This extravaganza, which has always been bursting with a preoccupation with, or indulgence in the flesh, did not disappoint in the lures of carnality. As with carnival each year, the lascivious gestures of revellers, particularly female revellers, was on full display rivaling the brilliance, artistry and creativity of the costumes themselves.
And brilliant and creative were the costumes, each section depicting, in one form or another, our folklores and the extravaganza’s ties to colonialism, our religious conversion, our ultimate freedom and our celebration.
Now that Saint Lucia Carnival is no longer a pre-Lenten tradition, we expect that moving forward, after the terrible years of 2020 and 2021 when COVID-19 halted the event that more effort would be made in making carnival a true money maker for the island.
Saint Lucia Carnival, if properly marketed or marketed the way Saint Lucia Jazz was marketed in its heyday, could become another huge foreign exchange earner for the country. The potential is there.
Saint Lucia Carnival, like carnival in its other sister Caribbean islands, is rich in culture, not only of the Caribbean people, but also that of the French, Spanish and African.
This infusion of cultures and traditions from these ethnic groups could transform a celebratory event, which carnival was at the end of slavery in 1834 in the English-speaking colonies, to a world class event that could redound to the benefit of most sectors of the Saint Lucian economy.
In other words, the outward celebration of our native culture through the artistry and creativity of dress, music, and dancing, could be packaged in a manner that could be beneficial to all. These three elements, which are central to our carnival, could only get better and better through the years.
We recognise the violence free nature of Carnival 2022 and take this as a sign that violence can be reduced in our beloved country if we put our minds to it, and the necessary authorities do whatever it is they have to do, to mitigate this scourge.