Culture Magazine

Gwada Intangible Cultural Heritage

By Artborghi @artborghi

Intangible Cultural Heritage means the skills that communities recognize as part of their cultural identity. The Indian community on Guadeloupe is strong of 40,000 people. Most of them are descendant of those Indian workers that were offered a job on the island by the French state over two hundred years ago. After the abolition of slavery in 1794, the demand for workers on sugar cane, rum distillation, tobacco and coffee fields strongly increased in Guadeloupe. A solid migration from India, Vietnam and Lebanon have been supporting local productions from then on. The immigrants who chose to further stay in Guadeloupe maintained their cultural identity and mixed it with others, French continental included. Nowadays food, music and folklore on Guadeloupe are the result of this fusion.

Gwada intangible cultural heritage

Election of Guadeloupe Miss Teen of India, Schoelcher square, Sainte-Anne

Continental French craftsmen contribute to keeping traditions alive on Gwada: Cédric Coutellier runs a biological vanilla plantation in the tropical jungle near Sainte-Rose. Vanilla plants are epifite, meaning they climb over other tree stems to gain a place in the sun. Front right of Cedric and behind him each tree is climbed by one or more vanilla plants. Vanilla pods (still green) are in hist right hand.

Gwada intangible cultural heritage

Cédric Coutellier and his vanilla plantation in the tropical jungle, Sainte-Rose

Gwada fishermen still use traditional cages, in addition to modern fishing nets for catching their daily preys.

Gwada intangible cultural heritage

A fisherman in Saint-François harbor with modern (right) and traditional (left) nets/cages

At funeral ceremonies, as well as on the streets of Sainte-Anne it is not rare listening to the sound of Lambi (conch shells), blown by local players.

Gwada intangible cultural heritage

A Lambi (shell) player, cemetery of Sainte-Anne

When you pass by La pointe des châteaux don’t miss the local craftsmanship of palm tree hats. Jordan crafts also bowls and Frigatebirds made of the same leaf material. It will not stay green, but it will still look gorgeous.

Gwada intangible cultural heritage

A maker of traditional woven hats, La pointe des châteaux

If you are a photographer, it is worth learning a couple of words in French for shooting iconic pictures with locals. Je suis italien. Je suis photographe. Je voudrais faire une photo de vous. Et voilà, here is my knowledge of French language.

Gwada intangible cultural heritage

Painters, Sainte-Anne cemetery

The manioc ants at the feet of Cédric Coutellier in the jungle of Sainte-Rose

Gwada intangible cultural heritage

Manioc ants, tropical jungle, Sainte-Rose

Click each picture to zoom in.

Previous and last episodes:

1. My lady of Guadeloupe
2. Sea life of Gwada (Guadeloupe)
3. La Métropole


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