One thing Caribbean people surely all have in common, is the fact that they know how to throw a good party. Almost every island hosts an annual event celebrating its unique heritage with music, dance, food. Here are our picks for the best 5 festivals in the Caribbean.
Trinidad Carnival: Port of Spain, Trindad
Two days before Ash Wednesday, in the early morning hours of Carnival Monday,the rhythms of soca music signal the start of J’ouvert. As the sun comes up, colorful bands of people flood the streets dancing to a mix of pounding melodies of calypso and soca bands. Tuesday brings the signature carnival parade. Each band and float interprets an annual theme with its own historical or tropical concept. Throughout the festival, groups host giant parties, steel drum concerts, calypso tents and community gatherings.
Tens of thousands of fans of reggae flock to the birthplace of these music styles for a 4-night blowout concert each July. Top Caribbean bands have been joined in the past by international headlines such as Fox’s Empire actor Yazz the Greatest, Trey Songz, Chris Brown and LL Cool J.
During the predawn hours before dawn on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, Bahamians head to Bay Street to join Junkanoo crews “rushing” the parade route. Crews are comprised of family and community groups that parade down the streets wearing bright colorful costumes and beating goombay drums.
In Barbados, a ceremony originally held in July to celebrate the end of the sugar cane harvest has turned into a 5-week party, from July to August. The delivery of the season’s final cane crop and the crowning of a Queen and King of the Crop signal the beginning of the fete. Over the next 24 days the island hosts parades, markets, concerts and lots of drinking. The celebration culminates with the Grand Kadooment parade, concert and party.