Carnival in Antigua and Barbuda
Flamboyant costumes. Beauty pageants. Talent shows. Great music. All these and more define a fantastic celebration of happiness that is the Antigua Carnival.
In retrospect, the Antigua Carnival dates back in August 1 of 1834 when slavery was entirely abolished. In 1666, it was ravaged by French inhabitants but was soon conquered by the British and was formally restored to them by the Treaty of Breda. Now, Queen Elizabeth II is its head of state under a constitutional monarchy government.
It all started when the local natives immediately went to the streets to express their joyful celebration of freedom. As the years passed by, it continued not until in 1957 where it was declared an official Antigua Carnival.
Since then, the Antigua Carnival has developed into ten days packed with revelry in a glitzy manner of dance to the beat of the Calypso. It includes marches, jump-ups and shows which always took place around the last week of July up to the first week of August.
The Antigua Carnival is undeniably the best time for tourists to immerse with the culture of this Caribbean island. More than the beaches perfect for water enthusiasts or villas defining luxury, it is here where one will discover how wealthy they are in terms of preserving what their ancestors have gained.
Even if it is your first time in the Antigua Carnival, you would want to join in the fun overtly seen in the natives’ countenances. You are very much welcome to groove with the performers as it takes you around the streets of Saint John to the Antigua Recreation Ground, home to the national sport of cricket. Wise reminders for the new excursionists, do not don on your best clothes because a lot will be spraying water over the crowd to keep it cool. As the weather can get really humid, the hotter it is in Antigua Carnival.
Alongside is a festival village for dining. You and your friends can stop for a while to taste the banquet full of locally prepared barbeque chicken, fish and burgers direct from the grill. There are also plenty of drinks available to match with those sumptuous meals.
If you head to the city, you are fortunate to witness the Pan Ban, a steel orchestra, practicing for the event. They go by troupes as they set up a Mas Camp, a base where their intricate wardrobes are made. It is also the starting point as they walk to the metropolis to open the Antigua Carnival.
The lively event culminates by a massive road party called J’ouvert, which means “day break”. Everybody is literally on their feet as they sway to the beat of the drums from the young night until the middle morning.