La Woz

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La Woz (Antillean Creole for "The Rose") is one of the two historic cultural societies (sociétés) of the Antillean country of Saint Lucia. It is also the name of the society's festival, held every August. The other societé is La Magawit ("The Marguerite"), which holds its festival in October.


The société forms itself into a court, a microcosm of civil society. Positions held are often hereditary – a particular family will produce a La Woz king, another produce the queen etc. All through the year, but with greater frequency leading up to the festival, séances are held, practice and organising sessions of song and dance.

An important member of the group is the chantwèl, generally a woman, who leads and sometimes composes the songs, and acts generally as a marshall to organise and mobilise the group. Each group has its own band. The group organises itself into a King and Queen, Prince and Princess, Doctor, Magistrate, policemen, nurses, soldiers. Everyone can have a role and a costume. The costumes are as gorgeous as can be contrived from the money collected by the group.

The festival of The Rose

The colour theme for the Roses is red or red and white. The Queen and Princess wear long satiny dresses, decorated with lace and spangles. The King and Prince wear formal suits, with decorated sashes. Each of these characters has a crown. Other members of the group wear costumes appropriate to their characters. The chantwèl carries a...
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