Saint Lucia’s culture has been influenced by African, Indian, French and English heritage. One of the minor languages is St. Lucian Creole French, which is spoken by almost the entire population.
Saint Lucia has the second highest ratio of Nobel laureates to total population of any sovereign country in the world. Two laureates are from Saint Lucia: Sir Arthur Lewis was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1979 and the poet Derek Walcott was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992.
Music and dance
Besides Caribbean music genres such as calypso, soca, dancehall, reggae, compas, zouk and salsa, Saint Lucia has a strong tradition of indigenous folk music. Since 1991, Saint Lucia has hosted an internationally renowned jazz festival every May. In 2013, the festival was renamed The Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival, which encompasses culture, visual arts, alternative music, education, fashion and food.
Dancing in Saint Lucia comes from the Caribbean and is very active.
A popular folk dance is the Kwadril.
The national dish of Saint Lucia is green fig and salted fish.
The island’s cuisine is a unique blend of West African, European (mainly British and French) and Indian; resulting in vibrant dishes such as macaroni pie, stewed chicken, rice and peas, hearty fish broths or water, hearty soups with fresh, locally grown vegetables. Typical staples are potatoes, onions, celery, thyme, coconut milk, the very hot Scotch Bonnet pepper, flour and cornmeal. All common meats and poultry are eaten in St Lucia; meats and seafood are usually braised and browned to create a rich sauce, sometimes served over staples or rice. The island is also home to the famous fried pastry, bake, which others call “Johnny Cake”. These casseroles can be served with a variety of accompaniments, such as salted fish, either sautéed or lightly fried with red and green peppers, onions and well seasoned. This is the most common way of preparation. If you don’t like seafood, other meats such as braised chicken or beef can be served with it. One of the best desserts that Saint Lucians prepare is called “Turnover”. This pastry is made from sweetened coconut that is cooked with spices, sugar and anything else that is satisfying. The coconut is cooked until it turns a light or dark brown colour, then the mixture is divided into different sized portions and placed on a rolled out piece of dough. The size of the dough can also vary depending on the quantity desired. Finally, the dough is baked in the oven until the colour of the “turnover” is nice and golden.
Due to the Indian-Caribbean population in St Lucia, curry is very popular, but due to the mixture of cooking styles, curry dishes have a distinctly Caribbean feel. Roti is usually served as a quick meal, the bread itself is very flat (sometimes very thin) and is wrapped around curried vegetables such as chickpeas and potatoes, seafood such as prawns and mussels, or meat such as chicken, beef, goat and liver.