Bonne Journée Kwéyol!
I know you all may have expected me to speak about the Halloween season but, today, October 30th, 2020, marks the celebration of Creole day in Dominica. Creole Day is celebrated annually on the last Friday of October and usually occurs during the Halloween season.
Creole or Kwéyol day is celebrated by the wearing of madras or afro print material by all, listening to folk music, and eating of traditional and cultural foods. On this day the women are referred to as ‘Dame’ and the men are referred to as ‘Cavalier’. Traditional creole wear for women includes the madras headwear, a white blouse, a madras skirt or jupe, a white underskirt, white socks, and black shoes. This is known as a ‘Wob Dwiyet’. Gold accessories are also a must! The men have less complicated creole wear: a white shirt, red sash, a waistcoat, black pants, and black shoes. Some men wear madras ties or bow ties to add a little flavour to their outfit. Regardless, on that day, the streets are filled with bright colours of orange, red, yellow, green, pink, blue…the whole rainbow.
On Creole Day, music can always be heard on the streets, and the scent of freshly cooked food is the strongest that day! Ugh, now I really miss home. I miss the taste of callalou, which is our national dish. It is a soup made with pureed spinach, crab legs, dumplings, potatoes, pig feet, and provisions. I miss bakes, fried plantain, fried breadfruit, black pudding, sous, pumpkin soup, codfish balls…(clears throat) I’m not drooling, you’re drooling! As you can see I almost lost myself while talking about food from home, but I’m better now.
Anyhow, Creole day celebrations are one of the ways we celebrate Dominica’s Independence. Dominica gained its independence from Great Britain on November 3rd, 1978. This year Dominica will celebrate 42 years of independence. Sadly, most of our normal festivities around Independence season such as ‘Creole in the Park’, ‘World Creole Music Festival’, and creole song and dance competitions et cetera won’t take place due to COVID-19, but that won’t stop us from celebrating our freedom to the fullest extent possible. Also, you all think that COVID holding you back? Tell that to the 73,000 of us who haven’t been able to experience a good fête (party) in 10 months, especially during the Independence season. That’s madness, I tell you. I almost cried after watching several relatives and friends post their creole celebrations on WhatsApp, but like Shaggy said, “Bad man dun cry.”
So to all my fellow Dominicans on campus and back home: stuff your faces, dance to Ophelia, dress in your madras and enjoy your life to the fullest! Misyé-quick? Quack!
GUESS THAT SLANG
*Slangs words introduced in a column will be defined in the following column publication. A new word/ phrase will also be introduced below definitions*
Previous Word: Gopwѐl (pronounced as Go-pweh-el)
- Boy, mister have serious gopwel for her.
- Why you listening to that kind of music? You have gopwel?
- She crying because she have gopwel for her ex.
Definition: Gopwel in Dominican patois/creole means lovesickness or heartbreak. It’s a term used to describe the emotional feelings of attachment one has for an individual they like or a romantic relationship they treasured.
New Word: Gadé (pronounced as Gah-dey)
- Hm, gadé! His clothes look messy.
- Look at how he’s insulting his mother! Gadé -san!
Ophelia Marie is a popular Cadence-lypso singer from Dominica who became well-known for her music during the ’80s. She is known as Dominica’s Lady of Song”, the “First Lady of Creole”, and “Godmother of Cadence”. ‘Aie Dominique’ was Marie’s first-ever recording, and the song became an anthem for Dominicans. It is played especially during the Independence season.
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