Duration: Half Day
If you happen to be taking a holiday in Antigua from the end of July to the beginning of August, don’t miss the chance to be part of one of the biggest parties of the year – Antigua Carnival. This annual, 10-day event is a celebration of the earliest emancipation of slaves in the Caribbean, which is commemorated through music, dancing and much more besides. Watch the island come alive with the vibrant colours, sights and sounds of Carnival. Not to be missed, this is one of the Caribbean’s greatest summer festivals.
The Caribbean is one place where you will find carnival celebrations happening all year round, and the paradise island of Antigua is no exception. The history of Antigua Carnival dates back to the 1st August 1834 when slavery was abolished. The local people celebrated their freedom and expressed their joy through annual festivals, which have evolved over time and become more vibrant and entertaining each year. The first formal Antigua Carnival took place in 1957, and since then, thousands of revellers from all kinds of cultural backgrounds have taken to the streets of St John’s during July and August for one of the biggest and best festivals in the Caribbean.
You will immediately get caught up in the fun, party atmosphere as the energetic parades pass by, full of happy, smiling people dressed in bright, colourful costumes; dancing and drinking behind beautiful decorative floats. Join in the fun as you follow their lead, swaying your hips to the sounds of the jam bands and steel drums whilst reggae and calypso music fills the air. The energy is infectious.
The parade concludes at "Carnival City" (Antigua Recreation Ground), where a massive street party called J’ouvert (meaning “day break”) takes place on Carnival Monday, the first Monday in August, until the following morning. There is also a Children’s Carnival parade so the little ones can join in too, as well as calypso, steel band and costume competitions, talent shows, food fairs, cultural shows, fireworks, a beach bash and much, much more.
You will need plenty of stamina because the dancing literally goes on all night and into the next day! This is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the festive carnival spirit whilst gaining a valuable insight into the culture of Antigua.
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