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Social Life in St. Lucia

Behavior

The St. Lucians are conservative in most aspects of their lives and this is best seen in their behaviors, dress, and dining etiquette. They tend to dress and act conservatively, much of which is based on their deeply rooted Christian faith.

As a visitor to St. Lucia try to follow the lead of the locals by dressing conservatively (see below for details), dining in the local etiquette (see our St. Lucia Dining & Food Page), and avoid sensitive conversation topics, such as politics, finances, and business unless initiated by your local counterpart. Also try to avoid being loud, rude, showing off wealth, or getting noticeably drunk in public.

Dress

The traditional clothing in St. Lucia has roots in France and Africa. This traditional outfit for women is called the madras or jip. This outfit is made up of a white blouse outline in red, an outer skirt, a triangle-shaped scarf, and a headpiece (called tete en l'air), which indicates if a woman is single, engaged, married, or welcomes anyone. For men, the outfit is simply a white shirt, black pants, and a sash. Today the traditional dress has been lost on a daily basis, but can still be worn for formal events, particularly the more formal version of the madras, the wob dwiyet, which was likely the inspiration for the madras.

Today, the people of St. Lucia wear western clothing and, as a visitor to their country, you are welcomed to wear the same. Due to the country's many beaches and hot weather, the dress can be fairly liberal in as shorts and short-sleeved shirts are common. Even in nice restaurants, many of which are on the beach, dress tends to be fairly casual. In religious, political, and business settings the dress is more formal as pants and long-sleeved shirts are common, especially at churches and in business meetings.

This page was last updated: December, 2013