Carnival is one of the most important festivals on the Lucian calendar. It’s an intoxicating fusion of dance, creativity, colour, costumes and enticing, rhythmic beats. Open to all: young, mature, locals, tourists, it’s an unforgettable way to experience the Caribbean.
Carnival was originally a cultural event held early in the year to commemorate the end of the Lenten season. Some islands still observe that tradition but, 20 years ago, the Saint Lucian Carnival was moved to June/July so that it did not clash with other carnivals, and with the aim of enticing more visitors to our island. Nowadays we have revellers joining us from all parts of the globe, many as on-lookers, and every year we are delighted to welcome a strong contingent from Martinique.
Pageants, Processions and Competitions
Related celebrations take place throughout the island for several weeks beforehand, and after, with competitions and community carnival processions. These include the Carnival Queen Pageant; Panorama (steel pan competition) and Calypso; Inter-commercial House, Groovy and Power Soca Monarch competitions, and a Kiddies’ Carnival. It all leads up to the highly anticipated main parade: Carnival Monday and Tuesday!
The popular two-day parade of the bands features bejewelled carnival “jumpers” energetically “shaking their booty” along a two-mile route. The music is loud! The beat is strong! The dancing and gyrating (known locally as “whining”) are non-stop! Each band has participants wearing fantastical, themed costumes (there’s a lot of flesh on display!) and the atmosphere is infectious!
This year Carnival will take place on Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th July. Revellers will assemble near Massy Mega J in Choc Estate before dancing their way to the Castries Harbour. Take a cool box and set up camp on the side of the highway to watch the bands pass by. It’s a spectacle not to be missed!
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