Religions and Spirituality

Religions

Anglican, Evangelical, or Catholic, the population of Saint Barthélemy is very attached to its religions or its small prayer groups. The Catholic religion is transmitted from generation to generation, and is the largest on the island, with two churches:

  • Notre Dame de l’Assomption in Gustavia
  • Notre Dame de l’Assomption in Lorient

As well as two elementary schools:

  • Ecole Sainte Marie in Colombier:There is also a pretty little community chapel in Colombier,opened long ago by Father de Bruyn and frequented by the faithful from nearby neighborhoods.
  • Ecole Saint Joseph in Lorient There is also a pretty little community chapel in Colombier, opened long ago by Father de Bruyn and frequented by the faithful from nearby neighborhoods.

The island also has an Anglican Church and an Evangelical Temple. This allows each religious community to pray together according to one’s personal faith. There are certain ceremonies or family events that unite the churches in an ecumenical service.

 

Beliefs

As is true around the world, the natives of Saint Barth also have their legends and their beliefs. Although not as strong as with poeple on other Caribbean islands, some old time legends persist, most frequently little family rituals.

And even if not always believed, they tend to be passed on from generation to generation.

A few examples:

  • Sweeping too soon after the departure of a guest can keep them from coming back.
  • The kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)) is a bird that is thought to predict an impending birth. It is the first to notice if a woman is pregnant, and lets everyone know by chirping with insistence, its beak turned toward her house. On other occasions, it has a different song, which might indicate death.
  • A garden snake found near a house could mean that a baby will be born into the family.
  • If a woman has blond highlights, her baby will be a boy, if the highlights are black, it will be a girl (So why have a sonogram?)
  • To sleep with a chickpea pod under your pillow lets you dream of your future husband.
  • A hen that sings like a rooster brings misfortune.

And so on…

Generally speaking, netherworld creatures such as jumbies, zombies, phantoms, and other myths of the West Indies do not have much influence in Saint Barth.

 
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