Every year St. Lucians look forward to the month of October as a time for learning about many aspects of our cultural heritage that may no longer be as visible in everyday life today as in former years.
It is in this context that the Folk Research Centre in collaboration with the Bounty Rum Brand organized the first ever Bounty National Woulélaba Competition in 2005, to give special attention to the popular indigenous sports tradition in St. Lucia called Woulélaba or Walaba.
Woulélaba can be described as a local version of cricket that is most popular in rural communities.
The actual format of the game is broadly similar to international cricket but with some significant changes to the rules that make it less formal and increases the excitement for local spectators. However the fundamental difference of the Woulélaba from a cricket game is the fact that the game is usually just the central part of a wider community socialization event. Its popular context is an "excursion" in which members of one community journey to spend a day of fun in another host community.
The main activity would be a Woulélaba game between teams of the two communities. Around the game there would be other activities such as performance of cultural traditions, informal betting of monies on the teams, sale of food and drink, and often a public dance to end the day.
Woulélaba is therefore much more than a simple game in St. Lucia. It is an important cultural tradition that serves to strengthen communities, nurture talent, and develop peace and understanding across communities.
Today the stability of many St. Lucian communities is being threatened by crime, drugs, poverty and other social problems. In such a context, it is crucial that more attention be placed on activities like Woulélaba that help to build communities and strengthen community solidarity.