Fascinating Facts About Saint Lucia
Be an Island Insider!
For a twenty-seven by fourteen mile island, Saint Lucia is a pretty fascinating place to live, and every Monday at Marigot Bay Resort and Marina, Zando's Kids' Club celebrates Saint Lucia Day with a fun-packed schedule that includes Flag Drawing and Painting, Independence History, Carnival Mask Making and Caribbean Dance Class. Here are a few fantastic facts about our island that may surprise you and yours.
Flying The Flag | The flag of Saint Lucia was officially adopted on the day the West Indies Act 1967 took effect, in which our island nation assumed a status of association with the United Kingdom. According to artist and designer, Sir Dunstan St Omer, the significance of the design that now dons a thousand souvenirs and crafts is a reflection of Saint Lucia's evolution until then. From the Government website:
- Cerulean Blue represents fidelity. This blue reflects our tropical sky and also our surrounding waters — the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
- Gold represents the prevailing sunshine in the Caribbean and prosperity.
- Black and white stand for the cultural influences - the white part, the white culture; the black part, the black culture. The two races living and working in unity.
- The design impresses the dominance of the Negro culture vis-à-vis that of Europe, against a background of sunshine and ever-blue sea. This is represented by the three triangles in the centre of the flag...reminiscent of the island’s famous twin Pitons at Soufriere, rising sheer out of the sea, towards the sky - themselves, a symbol of the hope and aspirations of the people.
State of Independence | Only 42 years ago, Saint Lucia became independent from the United Kingdom and set out on a path of development that included bananas - known in their exportation heyday as "green gold - and tourism, for which the island has been lauded over the past two decades. But 1979 was also the first year in which a Saint Lucian won a Nobel Prize.
As described in Britannica's biography: "Sir Arthur Lewis, in full Sir William Arthur Lewis, (born Jan. 23, 1915, Castries, Saint Lucia, British West Indies — died June 15, 1991, Bridgetown, Barbados), Saint Lucian economist who shared (with Theodore W. Schultz, an American) the 1979 Nobel Prize for Economics for his studies of economic development and his construction of an innovative model relating the terms of trade between less developed and more developed nations to their respective levels of labour productivity in agriculture."
"Lewis attended the London School of Economics after winning a government scholarship. He graduated in 1937 and received a Ph.D. in economics there in 1940. He was a lecturer at the school from 1938 to 1947, professor of economics at the University of Manchester from 1947 to 1958, principal of University College of the West Indies in 1959–62, and professor at Princeton University from 1963 to 1983. He served as adviser on economic development to many international commissions and to several African, Asian, and Caribbean governments. He helped establish, and in 1970–73 headed, the Caribbean Development Bank. Lewis was knighted in 1963."
By the time he became a Nobel Laureate, Sir Arthur Lewis had written several books, including The Principles of Economic Planning (1949), The Theory of Economic Growth (1955), Development Planning (1966), Tropical Development 1880–1913 (1971), and Growth and Fluctuations 1870–1913 (1978).
Don't Stop De Carnival | So 2020 is the year that the Caribbean's summer carnivals will pause with the rest of the world in order to combat the threat of Covid-19. Come the middle of July in Saint Lucia, thousands of regular revellers will suffer from what Trinidadians call 'Carnival tabanca', a very West Indian equivalent to being lovesick that's now applied to the yearning for carnival time of those who are unable to take part. So until next time, did you know...
Originally, Saint Lucia celebrated 'mas' according to the calendar of the Catholic church, on the two days before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Visions of St. Lucia reports: "The first official celebration of Carnival was in 1947 when a small group of young people dressed in ragged clothes beat out rhythms on bottles and pieces of steel as they paraded through Castries on Shrove Monday night. People joined the impromptu parade which ended at the home of Derek and Roddy Walcott on Chaussee Road. On Shrove Tuesday, also known as Mardi Gras, people spontaneously started assembling makeshift costumes. Parades were held during the day."
Over the course of decades, Carnival became a bloved annual festival in Saint Lucia. For weeks beforehand, local communities would spend their free time gathering in groups called 'mas camps' to sew dazzling costumes for their bands to wear while dancing on the streets. Skill and ingenuity were required to create the massive 'King and Queen of the Bands' costumes that were as tall and wide a personal parade float and often had wheels in the back to help carry the load.
In 1999, Saint Lucia Carnival was moved to July in order to avoid the bigger Trinidad and Tobago Carnival and also attract more visitors to the island in the quieter season. Now the festival stretches over a month, culminating in one of the Caribbean's most popular summer weekends.
So inspired by Zando's Caribbean Dance Class, here's one of our favourite local soca tracks from Saint Lucia favourite, Mongstar - no rules, just enjoy the vibe and keep your eyes peeled for a shout out to Marigot Bay! And as Mongstar sings, "you must come back!"
For more about Saint Lucia Carnival and other future festivals, visit the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority.