Posted on August 30, 2015
At this time of the year, the Caribbean island of St. Lucia has an unusual sort of rivalry: flower society versus flower society!
There are two rival societies, La Rose and Les Marguerite. The first, as you can imagine, celebrates the rose; the latter honors the daisy. Since the most commonly spoken language in St. Lucia is St. Lucian Creole (a blending of mostly French words with African grammar), I should tell you the name of the two societies in that language: La Woz is “The Rose,” and La Magwit is “The Marguerite Daisy.”
Each group has weekly meetings, and each has a female singer called a Chantwelle. And each Chantwelle has to compose Belairs, which are tunes sung in Creole, that praise her own society and teasingly “insults” the other!
Of course the Chantwelles perform their Belairs at those weekly meetings, in song and dance, and people play along with sax, violin, banjo, or other instruments. Generally all the flower society members join in singing the choruses. The society members play games at these meetings.
La Rose has its festival today – Les Marguerite hold one in October – and there are religious services, parades, feasting, a royal court, and of course a whole lot more singing and dancing.
A rose of any other color...
It's interesting to me that we have a very clear idea of what rose-colored glasses, rosy cheeks, and the color “rose” all refer to: pink!
But not all roses are pink!
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