Saint Lucia's Culture
What makes St. Lucia's culture unique?
Contrary to what many people believe, all Caribbean islands are not the same. Over the years, the media has slowly 'bucketed' the Caribbean islands together, making them all sound like minor variations of Jamaica and Barbados. Truth be told, St. Lucia is quite unique. Due to the fact that the land changed possession fourteen times - it was owned by the French seven times and the English seven times - the culture of the people was greatly influenced. In St. Lucia, you'll notice both French and British influences all over the place, in addition to the influences of their native decent (Arawaks & Carib Indians). St. Lucia, as a result, has flourished into a cultural melting pot.
What is different about St. Lucia's food?
St. Lucia's food, as you'll notice in our Cook Like A Lucian cooking classes, is best described as affordable Caribbean ingredients heightened with local herbs & spices and influenced by a Creole heritage. The food is often cooked with a lot of "love", which includes butters, oils, an abundance of spices (not necessarily heat, but spice), sugars, salts, cheeses etc. Popular meats include pork (including pigtail), fish (Dorado, sardines, salted cod etc), turkey wings/legs, chicken wings/legs/backs/thighs/giblets, lamb neck, goat, cow heel etc. And popular side dishes include a lot of cost-effective carbohydrates such as ground provisions (plantain, dasheen, yam, breadfruit etc.), macaroni pie, green fig salad (green banana salad), fried/roast bakes, chow mein, rice and peas, lentils etc.
Are there any interesting holidays or celebrations that are unique to St. Lucia?
St. Lucia celebrates a TON of holidays - no exaggeration! However, there are a few that are very unique to the island. One special day that you won't want to miss out on is Jounen Kweyol, which stands for "Creole Day". This celebration takes place on the last Sunday in October - which has been dubbed "Creole Heritage Month" - every year, and is a day to celebrate St. Lucia's food, music, people and traditions. On Creole Day, you'll get to try an abundance of local food, see some fantastic local performances and indulge in some amazing homemade drinks. Some other extra special celebrations in St. Lucia include the National Flower Festivals, of which there are two - La Rose and La Marguerite. These two groups are singing societies whose members are dedicated to the praising of those respective flowers. Each society has a patron Saint whose feast day is celebrated. For the Roses it is the feast of St. Rose of Lima on August 30th and for the Marguerites it's the feast day of St. Margaret Mary Alacocque, which is October 17th. On this day they parade the streets in honor of their flower and spend their evening dancing and eating.
Saint Lucia's People
I hear St. Lucia's people are friendly, is this true?
You heard right! St. Lucia is well-known for having the most friendly, polite and courteous people in the Caribbean. Don't be alarmed when the locals say "Good Morning", "Good Afternoon" and "Good Night or Good Evening" in passing - these are common friendly greetings - it is how they were raised.
What language do the people of St. Lucia speak?
Most of the people in St. Lucia speak English as their first language and Creole (a combination of French and English with an African dialect) as their second language. However, some of the older generation - or those who live in more rural areas - speak Creole first and English second.
Should I be worried about my safety around the people of St. Lucia?
In short, we say no. However, just like any other country in the world, it is important to always be on guard around areas and people you are unfamiliar with. We do not recommend visiting quiet areas, back streets or small villages in the nighttime when you are unaccompanied by a local you know well or a touring group/leader. Generally, as stated above, the locals are very friendly and very protective of our visitors; however there will always be a few bad apples in the world who spoil the bunch. Always use good judgement and always travel in a group/with a partner. If at any point you do find that you require immediate assistance, please note that the emergency phone number in St. Lucia is 911. On a positive note... it's very very rare for us to hear of any problems with tourists in St. Lucia - locals love visitors!
Saint Lucia's Land
Is St. Lucia's landscape like other tropical islands?
St. Lucia's landscape is just as unique as it's culture and heritage. Unlike many other islands, St. Lucia is blessed with rolling hills, lots of lush flora and fauna, volcanic rock, tropical rainforests, sandy beaches and clear waters - basically everything you could ever desire to live amongst. If you're looking for a Caribbean island with flat land and little to no greenery, St. Lucia is not your place! (But we know that's not the case.)
What is the weather like in St. Lucia?
You know that song that goes, "Feelin' hot hot hot!" well that pretty much sums it up. Of course, you probably knew that much already. What you're most likely wondering is: when is the rainy season? And, is it a humid or dry heat? Well, to answer your first question, the "rainy" season is technically from June to November. However, as you can probably tell by the use of quotations, this hasn't really been the case as of late. In 2013, the rainy season was very dry! So, just like every country, the weather is not as predictable as we'd like it to be. Now, with regards to the heat, St. Lucia tends to have a pretty humid heat as opposed to a dry one. So ladies, be sure to bring some frizz taming hair products or be prepared to let your hair go beach-wavy wild! Personally, we think the wild look is in.
Where is St. Lucia located?
St. Lucia is located just North of St. Vincent and South of Martinique in the Caribbean. It is a part of the Windward Island's and is sandwiched by the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
Legendary Saint Lucia
Why is hosting a honeymoon and/or wedding in St. Lucia so common?
St. Lucia has long been known as the island of love and romance. In fact, St. Lucia has been the recipient of the World Travel Awards' "Worlds Leading Honeymoon Destination" award ten times (most recently in 2012)! In addition, it was recently awarded the "Sexiest Honeymoon/Romance Destination in the Caribbean" by RCA (Readers Choice Award). And, as you've probably heard, it was also the hosting country of NBC's The Bachelor where Jake proposed to Vienna.
Is there really a 'drive-in' volcano in St. Lucia?
Yes there is! It's the world's only drive-in volcano and it's also located in Soufriere (where the Pitons are). We highly recommend you pay it a visit! But don't be scared, when we say "drive-in", we don't mean you're driving into boiling and bubbling lava! There is a safe, barricaded area for you to get some pictures and enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime view. Also, be sure to take a dip in the Sulphur Springs there too - it's marvelous!
What are St. Lucia's Pitons?
The Pitons as considered by some to be the "8th wonder of the world". They are two incredible peaks situated in Soufriere, Saint Lucia that have become the most recognized symbol for our land. There are two Piton mountains, Gros Piton is the wider & shorter mountain and Petit Piton is the taller & skinner mountain. We highly recommend that you take some time to see these beauties up close - they are awe-inspiring.
I keep hearing about the Gros Islet Street Party, or "Jump Up", what is this?
In St. Lucia, there are three well-known parties that occur every single week of the year (with the exception of Good Friday, if it's a Friday party). There is the Anse La Raye Fish Fry, the Dennery Fish Fry and the Gros Islet "Jump Up". Anse La Raye's event and the Gros Islet Street Party occur on Friday nights and the Dennery Fish Fry is on a Saturday night. These are local parties that literally occur in the streets of their respective fishing villages and involve local vendors coming together to sell their authentic food and drink. The streets are flooded with people, music and dancing, and tourists often join in on the fun. The reason why the Gros Islet Street Party is often the most talked about amongst tourists is due to its location. Gros Islet is located in the North of the island, where most of the hotels are, but Anse La Raye and Dennery are a bit of a drive. Here’s a fun fact: Cook Like A Lucian’s culinary adventure studio is located about a 5 minute walk from the Gros Islet Street Party! So if you’re taking a Friday night dinner class, you can always take a walk on over to join the fun afterwards! Maybe we’ll even join you!
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