The Culture

The General Culture in French West Indies

   The richness and diversity of cultures that have right of citizenship in our islands justify the fact that something is always happening somewhere in Guadeloupe , in the countryside or in towns and villages.

   The Communal Feasts, fighting cocks, Cultural Evenings, the "Lewoz" The wake, the Indian holiday, the Feast of stoves, team races, tie rods, are opportunities that will be offered throughout the year, at any time, to appreciate the vitality of the traditions of our islands.

The Population

Composed mainly of black or mestizo (80%) originates from the African coast of Guinea t the oneeds of cane sugar during the seventeenth and eighteenth century.

The indians of india : Not to be confused with the Caribbean Indians, despite the physical similarities. Despite some creolization of their lifestyle, the coolies have managed to retain many elements of their cultural heritage. One can even speak of cultural exchange between populations: colombo original Tamil, for example, became the national dish of Guadeloupe , while the Creole language and Catholicism have conquered all Hindu homes, which makes no preclude the simultaneous practice their own religion. 

The Caribbean has always been said that the latest Caribbean vegetated "protected" or "parked" within the reserve Qualla River on the east coast of the island of Dominica. There are still traces of their Indian character on the faces of some residents of the Pointe des Chateaux and especially the Pointe de la Grande Vigie , the site was officially set a reserve until 1730.

The Békés: Not many, they form a true caste, the names of great families find themselves on the covers of most major companies in Guadeloupe. They still control the great lords in the island's economic structure: culture and trade in bananas, sugar cane, rum, they also managed to diversify their activities. The Békés, White Matignon, the Saintois and St. Barth are also called "white country" or "Creole" and are part of the history of Guadeloupe , their ancestors had settled in the islands before the arrival of black West Indies.

The Lebanese and Syrians: They are like everywhere else a community whose core business is commerce, and hold in the island, the major portion of jewelry stores, fabrics and clothing, particularly in major shopping streets Pointe a Pitre 

The Language

   Creole : It means "talk" from the mixture of several languages such as French, Spanish, Portuguese, English with indigenous languages (Caribbean) and African imports.

   Spoken language, it comes from oral tradition and conveyed by storytellers who, at the vigil, gathered young and old to listen to tales and stories of tradition.

   It's more than a language, it is also a way of life and history of a people, evoking both Africa, slavery, as well as dance, music , islands, Day ...

   This language is full of flavors, smells, colors and images.

   But the official language in Guadeloupe, Martinique and Guyane is French.

The Music

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   Here music like dance feature prominently in the culture and traditions. It is a mixture of sounds and rhythms of English, French, Spanish and Africans who give their wealth.

   The music develops from the seventeenth, the same principle as the Creole language.

   At the time slavery existed the bamboulas, trance around the collective Gwo-Ka , the creole drum.

   Today, it is natural that festivals like Sainte Anne July (Festival Gwo-ka) perpetuate this tradition. This is a rural music, which gives the soloist the theme, echoed by other musicians. Percussion weave a frame around it. Drum slaves, the Ka has become the symbol of a call to rebellion, resistance of a people with cultural alienation.

  The interwar period saw the birth of the beguine, influenced by the rhythm of orchestra jazz New Orleans. It is danced in a tonic or lascivious in the balls.

  The Zouk has become, since 1980, Caribbean music by definition. Originally, zouk means a festival of the season. Groups like Zouk Machine, Kassav Malavoi and helped bring this genre to the world.


   Rich and varied flavors and resultant turbulent history of the Caribbean, Creole cuisine is recognized as such and is even set each year to honor at the festival ranges.

   On each island there are many restaurants offering all types of cuisine.

Christophine: the appearance of a pear bumpy and pale yellow, very popular vegetable that is eaten as a salad or dish.

Chiquetaille: shredded cod served with vinaigrette.

Cabbage coconut: coconut heart you eat raw.

Colombo: curried chicken, goat or pork, sauce of coriander, cumin, black pepper, mustard, turmeric, ginger and chili (original India). Flat "national" Guadeloupe.

Cassava: foods of the Caribbean.

Maracudja: passion fruit.

Planter: white rum, grenadine syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, fruit juices (orange, guava, pineapple) Ti Punch: 1 / 5 of sugar cane syrup, 4 / 5 of white rum, a lemon wedge.

See fruits and vegetables : PDF

Festivals, Holidays and Events

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The holidays are the same in the mainland. Mardi Gras is considered a holiday. The Guadeloupe has some local festivals particularly important: the carnival , the last week of February and first week of March, the feast of Ranges in August, All Saints. The celebration of Victor Schoelcher, July 21, commemorates the abolition of slavery.

Easter Friday is a religious festival highly respected in the West Indies. It results in long processions to shrines in towns and communes of Guadeloupe. As a sign of mourning, the bells do not ring, a sort of wooden instrument, the rara, which rotates with a stick, calls the faithful to vespers. Formerly, the next day, Saturday, "Gloria," the awakening of bells, a crowd of people threw themselves into the water or washed their faces, and watered each his house to be lucky all year. Easter Monday is the day of celebration par excellence. We went to the beach or the river to bathe, play music, have fun and enjoy punch, salad cucumbers, tomatoes and hard boiled eggs, chiquetaille cod fierce (lawyer and cassava flour spiced) and especially matoutou the crab, delicious mixture of rice and land crabs.

All Saints On the evening of All Saints you will witness a unique spectacle. As in the churches the faithful light candles and candles for the dead as well, that night, cemeteries are illuminated by thousands of candles on the tombs to light the dead who are stayed up all night by their relatives.

Noel The evening of December 24 is one of the finest and gayest of the year. Families gather to sing, dance and eat. The traditional hymns have taken to Guadeloupe and Martinique from rhythms of waltzes, bel-air, and of mazouks beguines. The lyrics are strictly observed, but the pace is West Indian or African put his imprint.

Festivities Each year, municipalities, cities, towns and villages celebrate the saints of their churches to the rhythm of the drums nice air, gwo ka to accompany barns cassava, Laghia, the toumblack, tombs and other dances lévé campaigns. If the Mass and procession are de rigueur, the charm of Christmas lies in these bars or "refreshment" decorated with garlands, Madras, carpet colors, in which one takes off with rum dry and where you eat cod fritters and crispy, the sausage hot, fried cod coated with a cushion of fried onions, colombos of chicken or goat, short-bouillon of fish and other dishes spiced Creole spices and decorated.

To know more : LINK

Mix Population


The "Gwo-Ka"

Le Kalennda, ressemble beaucoup au toumblack, c'est un rythme vif exprimant le désir sexuel

Le Graj, (crée à partir du travail du manioc), c'est un rythme stimulateur

Le Lewoz, c'est un rythme qui peut traduire un désir de lutte, de combat

Le Padjanbèl, c'est un rythme qui retrace les moments heureux ou malheureux

Le Woulé, rythme lent et de grâce

Le Kaladja, rytme lent exprimant la douleur

Tous ces rythmes sont dansés par la population avide de ces rythmes.







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