Monday, October 22, 2007

Creole is Here!

Here is my Madras for Creole Days.

This post is updated from an earlier entry, if it seems familiar...

This month is Creole time here on Dominica, which is my very favorite celebration. This time of year is a festival honoring all things Dominican. Everyone gets into the spirit of things in the days leading up to Independence Day (Nov. 3) and the World Creole Music Festival (Oct. 26-28).

Here are some of the things I love about this time of year: Creole in the Park is a family celebration of food, music, crafts and fun held in the Botanic Garden. This year Creole in the Park starts on October 22 for four days. I can already taste the Crab Backs, my favorite Creole dish.

On the Friday before Independence everyone, I mean , everyone will be decked out in Creole dress. Women in madras dresses and head ties, men in the traditional dark trousers with white shirt and red sash. Sometimes the guys have a madras vest or tie, too. From toddlers to grannies, everyone wears some version of traditional dress, even immigrants. (My madras outfit is pictured above)

Community Day of Service (Nov 4) is a day when everyone works together to improve the country. Much cleaning, painting and trimming is done this day in a spirit of pride. It is a work party and you can see a real difference everywhere you look after this day of work, trash all gone and everything tidy.

Market Day with a Difference: The markets of the island are wonderful every Saturday, but on the Saturday before Independence, the stalls and vendors are awash with madras. It is the best!

Miss and Madam Wob Dwiyet competitions: Wob Dwiyet is the traditional island costume and women of all ages compete in several areas in order to win the title. Miss Wob Dwiyet is for the younger set, Madam Wob for the mature women. But the most important skill they demonstrate is the ability to wear this costume with the grace and dignity it deserves.

During this season, every village seems to develop Creole fever and strives to show it's neighbors how well it is preserving heritage and traditions. The pride and love for this island is truly palpable this time of year when areas around the island compete in dance competitions and village festivals are held.

Local TV has a lot of historic and cultural programing which includes Dr. Honychurch's history and archeology films, demonstrations of how to properly tie a West Indian head dress, and lots of traditional dancing and music. I love the Bele and the Jing Ping bands most of all. It is wonderful to see the children learning these traditional art forms. Thank goodness Dominicans are passionate about keeping their history and culture alive.

livingdominica: I am a little bit Creole in my soul...


Vee said...

I found your blog a few days ago and its nice reading about the island from an Americans p.o.v. I was born in DA but raised in the US from 4 years old. I know I will be moving back home in a few years. Your stories are funny and real and I do enjoy them. Make sure you try the crabacks and coconut cheese from by my granny (by Beige babershop)in Pottersville. I doe fink anyone home make it better.

Jen said...

Thanks for the tip, Vee! I may just go lookin' for your Granny. Sounds Fine!

TICA MACHA said...

I look forward to seeing your photos of this event.

WildflowerMax said...

Hi Jen, I also keep tags on your blog and enjoy reading your perspective. I am Dominican as well, and live in Dominica, and love it. I do recognise that there are somethings that could be better, but all-in-all, there is alot that I am not willing to give up. Keep on loving it! (BTW, for offical info on the island, check out

Freda's Island soul talk said...

I foud your blog and really enjoyed reading your blog, great piece. I am a Dominician living in the USA, your blog brought back some great chilhood memories. Thanks http//

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