Viv La Wòz !
Every year on August 30th St.Lucians observe one of its two flower festivals — the La Rose festival or LaWoz festival named after the patron saint Rose of Lima. The other, La Marguerite is later observed on October 17 also named after a patron saint — St. Marguerite Mary Alacoque. These two flower festivals are derived from historical rival societies who sing the virtues of their respective flowers.
Such is the nature of the flower societies in St.Lucia where members pledge allegiance to one or the other.
While other countries have a hierarchical system of classes and castes we have societies.
These societies have a King and Queen, prince and princesses, judges, policemen, magistrate, soldiers and nurses.
Each festival has a singer known as the “chantwel” who leads the singing in a call and response pattern. Some of the songs involve poking fun or casting ‘mépwi’ at the other rival society. But it’s all in good fun. Folks adorn their beautiful floral or colorful prints (or what have you) and dance to the Mapa and gwan won and quadrille to the sweet sounds of the violin and banjo and shak-shak, guitar and tanbou ( drums). Although much isn’t known about the origin of these societies, it is believed that they were born out of slavery.
And now Manmay LaKay, you’re in the know!