Marlin caught at the Bill Fishing Tournament
Saint Lucia Jazz Festival (first week in May)
Saint Lucia’s Jazz Festival, which first started in 1992, is recognized as one of the best in world. The main events take place Thursday through Sunday at the Pigeon Island National Landmark, which is a truly magnificent venue for such an experience. Visitors on island during Jazz should also be aware there are a variety of other concerts (mostly free) held during the week leading up to the main events at several other locations such as the Duty Free Shopping complexes and the Derek Walcott Square in Castries, the Soufriere waterfront and the Sulphur Springs. These very popular events are presented in an effort to bring the music to the people.
Fishermen’s Feast – The Feast of St. Peter
As a Catholic Church holiday, The Feast of St. Peter is celebrated on June 29. As St. Peter is the Patron Saint of Fishermen this day is celebrated in Saint Lucia as a fishermen’s holiday and begins with a special church service followed by a procession of clergy, fishermen and their families to the local fishing complex. After blessings from the Priest as well as brief words from community and political leaders, the Priest boards a boat to tour the local harbour to bestow a blessing on each fishing boat. This is followed by a luncheon and partying for the remainder of the day with plenty of music and drink. Most coastal towns in Saint Lucia observe the Fishermen’s Feast celebrations. Visitors are very welcome to join in.
Saint Lucia celebrates its Carnival in July. Several events lead up to the culminating two days of colourful street parade pageantry including a number of competitions: Carnival Queen, Calypso Monarch, Soca Monarch and Panorama (Steel Pan) Champions. Revellers join organized bands that put a lot of effort into their costumes, music and choreography as they are competing for the coveted title of Band of the Year. Visitors are welcome to join a band to get in on the fun; for the less bold, you can find a good spot along the parade route in Castries and take in the entire colourful spectacle.
La Rose Festival (August 30) & Les Marguerite Festival (October 17)
An old cultural tradition in Saint Lucia, these festival celebrations are the culminations of a friendly rivalry between two flower society groups that is most common in the rural communities. It begins with weekly meetings held by members of each group where tunes are composed that give praise to their own respective society while light-heartedly disparaging the rival society in song and dance. The lyrics are in Creole and the choruses are sung in unison to the accompaniment of saxophones, violins, banjos, drums or any other traditional instrument. After attending a religious service, members of each flower society parade the streets of their community dressed up in costumes of kings and queens, prince and princesses, doctors, nurses, policemen and soldiers. The activities culminate in the colourful festivals of La Rose on August 30 and Les Marguerite on October 17 each year.
Saint Lucia Bill Fishing Tournament (October or November)
Hosted by the St Lucia Game Fishing Association, this 4-day tournament brings in fishing enthusiasts from all over the wider Caribbean attracting over 100 participants each year. The excitement builds each afternoon as the boats come into the Rodney Bay Marina one at a time and reveal their catches for weigh in. Excellent prizes and the camaraderie within the fishing community make for a great time for participants and spectators alike.
Jounen Kweyol (last Sunday in October)
This festival celebrates Saint Lucia’s Kweyol (Creole) heritage with a mix of Creole food, music, games and traditions. Colourful traditional apparel is worn and locals try to speak only the Creole Patois on that day. Visitors are very welcome to participate and enjoy in the fun.
Atlantic Rally for Crusiers (ARC) (December)
Rodney Bay serves as the finish line for the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers race which has brought over 200 boats to Saint Lucia in early December for the past 17 years. The 2,700 nautical event begins in Spain’s Canary Islands and has become the world’s largest trans-ocean race. Most participants are in it for the fun but a few world-class racing yachts take it all very seriously. Word gets out when the first boats are about to arrive and onlookers line the harbour channel or flock to the marina to watch the sleek vessels come in.