St Lucia

St Lucia is a Caribbean island where stunning white sand beaches and lush rainforest hikes intersect with a unique colonial history. This is a destination where French, indigenous and African influences have melded to create an exciting way of life and unique cuisine.

Saint Lucia was first settled by the Amerindian Arawaks and Caribs who were expert hunters, farmers and craftspeople. They cultivated crops such as cassava, yams and sweet potatoes which still play an important role in the cuisine today. They also grew and harvested salt from a lake on the island, which is still used in many dishes. One of the national dishes of Saint Lucia is Green Fig and Saltfish, which combines boiled green bananas (locally known as green figs) and salted cod or saltfish with a selection of other ingredients including onions, peppers, and thyme. The dish is said to be inspired by a traditional African recipe and serves as a reminder of the island’s history.

The Europeans who came to St Lucia after the Amerindians were the British and the French, and they had a profound influence on the culture of the island. The British brought their language, education system and legal and political structure to the country while the French left behind cuisine and a slang dialect called Creole which is spoken alongside English. The combination of these influences is reflected in Saint Lucian cuisine, which often uses local produce and spices and combines Western Indian cooking techniques with a more European flavor profile.

Aside from traditional dishes, there are a number of events that celebrate the unique Saint Lucian culture. The most popular is the annual Soca and Calypso competition, which sees local talent go head-to-head to win the title of national champion. There is also a national Carnival, usually held before Lent, that features a parade of people dressed in colorful costumes and dancing in the streets.

Saint Lucians are predominantly Christian and follow a Catholic tradition, though there are some groups of people who are Muslim and Hindu. Most residents of Saint Lucia are bilingual, and English is the primary language, but the local dialect of Creole is widely spoken and is taught in schools along with French and Spanish.

The government of Saint Lucia is a constitutional monarchy with the British Monarch as Head of State and represented by the governor-general. The island is governed by a bicameral parliament made up of the House of Assembly, elected through universal adult suffrage, and the Senate, whose members are appointed on the advice of the prime minister. The leader of the majority party in the House is the Prime Minister and heads the cabinet.

Education in St Lucia is mostly public and includes both primary and secondary schools as well as tertiary institutions. Health services are provided by the government, and there are several private hospitals as well as clinics and community health centers around the island. The island’s main airport is located in Vieux Fort, and a port for international shipping lines is also situated here.

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