U R A Ç A O
homey pre-Lenten Carnival features weeks of buildup, such as a Children's
Carnival Parade. The big events occur on the days preceding Ash Wednesday,
and include big parades with flamboyant island groups competing for best
costumes and floats.
When: New Year's Day until midnight on the day before Ash Wednesday
A I N T T H O M A S ,
. S . V I R G I N I S L A N D S
Thomas took the best carnival activities and gave them a secular spin,
eliminating the pre-Lenten overtones of Trinidad's Carnival. Events include
African customs such as frenetic baboula dancing, and parades with stilt-walking
mocko jumbies. Calypso contests, jazz groups, traditional quelbe music,
and steel bands round out the festivities.
When: Late April
R I N I D A D
ready for boisterous music making and an unbridled bacchanalia when you
attend the biggest of Caribbean carnivals. Carnival showcases original
Trinidadian culture in calypso, soca, and steel band competitions, "jump-up"
parades, fantastic costumes, and big parties throughout the capital Port
of Spain. Not for the weak of heart.
When: New Year's Day until Ash Wednesday, with the climax on the Monday
and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday
O M I N I C A
honor their heritage on Creole Day, when women wear traditional madras
dress and restaurants make a point of serving crapaud (frogs' legs, that
is, or "mountain chicken") and other traditional dishes. Activities include
street dancing and singing, accompanied by jing ping bands, storytelling,
and folk dancing.
When: Usually celebrated the Friday before the 3 November Independence
A R B A D O S
festival dates from the 1780s, when Barbados was the world's largest sugar
producer, and harvest time meant a huge celebration. Crop Over week features
the crowning of the Calypso Monarch, a large Market Day, and the climactic
Kadooment Day, when masqueraders pour into the streets of Bridgetown for
parades, dancing, and fireworks.
When: Late July to mid-August
U A D E L O U P E
Fête des Cuisinières
Festival of Women Cooks" honors Saint-Laurent, patron saint of cooks. The
festival, held in Pointe-à-Pitre since 1916, features costumes,
parades, and a 5-hour banquet—the best of French and Creole cuisine. Sample
crabes farcis (stuffed crabs) and wash it down with ti punch, a traditional
drink of rum, cane syrup, and lime.
When: Early August
A N J U A N , P U E R T O R I C O
cellist, conductor, and humanitarian Pablo Casals moved to Puerto Rico
in 1956, where he directed the Festival Casals de Puerto Rico, a series
of spring classical concerts. The tradition continues today, and some of
the world's finest musicians converge on San Juan and join the Puerto Rico
Symphony Orchestra in performing classical standards.
When: Late June