Saint Lucia Carnival is an incredible annual summer celebration on the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia. This celebration represents one of the biggest festivities on the island, which locals and tourists receive with great excitement. Carnival is the festival par excellence in St. Lucia to make known all the rich culture and history that the island has to offer.
Saint Lucia Carnival is recognized as one of the best Carnivals in the Caribbean and each year it gets stronger and stronger with the dozens of events it has to offer throughout the season. The carnivals aim to preserve, maintain and promote the island’s culture, making them a first-class tourist destination that stands out from the rest of the Caribbean island celebrations.
The event is a continuous party from start to finish, containing in its repertoire dozens of community events, parties of all kinds, live concerts, Mas bands, contests, competitions, election of Carnival Queen, tons of delicious food and beverage, DJs, parades, J’ouvert and many more events that you will definitely enjoy.
Saint Lucia carnival parties offer you the best quality entertainment without the excessive prices that are common to find in many Caribbean carnivals. In addition, it offers you an experience like no other, full of a festive atmosphere, surrounded by the best people and the best services. You don’t need to look for any other celebration in the Caribbean, you must attend the one that takes place specifically during the summer, in the unique and exclusive island of St. Lucia.
Saint Lucia Carnival is a celebration that spans several months, performing ceremonies and warm-up activities for the big day. In addition, the carnivals are a summer celebration, nothing to do with the typical carnivals that take place during the months of February and March, making them the perfect time to enjoy the warm weather and beaches that the island has to offer.
The St. Lucia carnival will be held from approximately July 14 to 21.
Carnivals are festivals whose origin is specifically located in Europe, in ancient Rome. The carnival at first was a celebration to pay homage to the various gods that was spreading first to central Europe and then across the continent. Eventually, carnivals were a perfect excuse to eat as much as possible before the celebration of Lent, so it was a custom to eat and drink to no end before the religiously obligatory breakfast.
The festivities began to take shape and occupy other elements, such as masks and costumes, which allowed people to perform certain immoral or unethical acts. In addition, it allowed people to enter into different personas, serve as an escape valve from everyday life and even commit crimes. Due to the unethical, savage and immoral nature, it suffered from strong censures, both by the religious authority and by the government of the various countries.
With the passing of time, carnivals began to be civilized, being moderately accepted by the authorities. In spite of their rejection of the festivities, carnivals ended up being more or less tolerated by the church, until they became fixed as a celebration that preceded Lent, so the link with the church was remarkable. The carnivals became tradition, taking place every year and evolving over time.
During the process of colonization of the Caribbean and Latin America, these traditions began to be imposed on the New World, achieving a syncretism between European religious festivals, African customs of slaves and Creole beliefs. Celebrations in the Caribbean were limited to whites, Creoles and free blacks, so slaves were forbidden to celebrate their customs or take part in the carnivals. After the abolition of slavery, a great revolution was formed in the Caribbean carnival festivities, since the new free men could celebrate the festivities in their own way. Because the island of Saint Lucia was an epicenter of slave trade, the African influence on the island is notable, so that one can find not only Caribbean carnival elements, but also African traditions and elements.
At first, the carnival festivities in Saint Lucia were celebrated during the traditional period; that is, between February and March. However, in order not to be overshadowed by larger carnivals, such as those of Trinidad and Tobago, it was decided to move the carnivals to mid-July. Since 1999, Carnival in St. Lucia has been celebrated as a summer carnival.
Carnival is celebrated in Castries, the capital city of Saint Lucia, a Caribbean country.
Castries is the economic epicenter of the island, as well as the entry point par excellence for the entire island. The city has an area of 79 square kilometers and is home to some 70,000 people.
Saint Lucia Carnival is an authentic explosion of parties, as it features dozens of themed parties and fetes from start to finish. The whole celebration takes place in an environment of contagious joy that you can only find here. Carnival is the perfect time to get to know the culture, traditions and identity elements that the island of St. Lucia has to offer.
As is customary in carnivals, within the festivities certain celebrations or activities stand out that deserve to be mentioned, since it counts with a remarkable importance for the conservation, development and promotion of the festivities..
The Carnival of Santa Lucia is one of the most special festivals due to its catchy and animated music. The predominant genre is the soca; however, the various groups on the island have managed to develop sub-genres such as the Dennery Segment, which features fast, pulsating rhythms and contagious lyrics.
Saint Lucia Carnival features dozens of themed parties that can stretch into the wee hours of the morning and feature an unnecessary amount of tunes. In the parties you can find themed parties related toboat rides, inclusive parties, events, painting, black and white,pool parties, beach parties, breakfast themed and many others where imagination is the limit.
These parties generally have entrance fees ranging from 30 to 140 Caribbean dollars. Although it may seem excessive, it is much cheaper than the rest of the fetes that take place in other Caribbean countries during Carnival.
The J’ouvert is one of the most traditional celebrations of the Caribbean carnivals. The J’ouvert is agreat celebration that reflects the identity of the Caribbean peoples, because it was one of the first expressions they made after theabolition of slavery. This celebration occurs in the early hours of the morning until noon.
No Caribbean carnival is complete without J’ouvert. The entire cerebration includes a large experiment of paint, talcum powder, mud, oil and any other substance that serves the purposes of the J’ouvert. Some people choose to attend in costume, usually with chains and horns. Showever, others go simply with t-shirts and comfortable clothes, since the purpose of the J’ouvert is to get dirty.
Parades in Saint Lucia occur on two occasions during the entire carnival celebration and are thes most important events in the festivities. During the event you will see thousands of people wearing characteristic carnival costumes called “Mas Bands” or Mas Bands, which comprise a package of various services including the colorful costume, which is one of the crucial elements of the festivities.
For the first parade of the carnivals, people must wear the outfits contemplated in the packages, while, for the second day, they can wear thecostume or suit of their choice. However, people can wear their Mas. costumes or outfits again.
During the Bandas Mas parade, ppeople congregate in groups that possess their same attire, as the services these possess are the same for the package they purchased. Saint Lucia Carnival has about 30 more bands at its disposal.
The most outstanding bands that make up the Santa Carnival parade are:
Packages including the women’s sets can be found ranging from $450 to $1,000, while the men’s ranges from $350 to $600. In addition, the package includes alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, one or more music trucks, meals and snacks, portable toilets, security, medical assistance and much more.
The Panorama is an emblematic contest of the carnivals and includes a participation of various metal drum bands that compete against each other to acquire the title of champions. They usually develop a repertoire of soca music and the event involves the participation of various groups from the island and other parts of the Caribbean.
TheSoca Monarch is another of the events of great importance in the island of Saint Lucia and the rest of the Caribbean countries. The Soca Monarch is a major competition of soca music artists who compete against each other for the title of champions. The event is extremely large and features great artists recognized both on the island and in the Caribbean and the world.
If you decide to attend the St. Lucia Carnivals, remember to plan your trip in advance, make an itinerary of activities and book your preferred lodging in advance. Also, be sure to pack comfortable and light clothing to fully enjoy the carnivals.
During the festivities be sure to stay hydrated, as temperatures on the island usually hover around 30 degrees Celsius.
Saint Lucia Carnival features a large number of events from start to finish. Some of them even take place weeks before the official celebration. The events that occupy the carnival are varied and can vary from day to day, but generally features a large number of parties of various themes, the parades, concerts, contests, the characteristicJ’ouvert and many other activities that occur during the month.
Place: Calles de Castries, Saint Lucia.
Time: The first parade takes place from10 am to 7 pm, while the second is from noon to 7 pm.
The parades occur on two occasions: the second or third Monday and Tuesday of July.
Place: Streets of Castries, Saint Lucia
Time: from3:00 a.m. onwards.
Place: They occur at various locations on the island such as Castries, Pigeon Island, Coco Palm Resort, Gaiety Gardens, Rodney Bay, Reduit Beach and many other locations, including on boats and private lounges.
Time: The time of the parties can vary due to thediverse themes and whether family entertainment is available. Daytime parties are usually from 2:00 p.m. until late at night, while nighttime parties start at 10:00 p.m. until the wee hours of the morning.
Saint Lucia Carnival also includes other traditional carnival events such as National Calypso School Competitions, the Power Soca Monarch, the National Groovy, election of theCarnival Queen, Children’s Carnival, Queen Competition and Carnival Kings, Last Lap and many other entertaining events.
The parades in the carnival of Saint Lucia have two modalities: The first with the use of Mas Bands and the second with use of freestyle costumes..
In the first parade you can see thousands of people with their Mas Bands outfits, all these people congregate with their particular group who also wear the same costume. Each Mas Bada Mas has its own entertainment, including music trucks, alcoholic drinks and security. The streets become a complete ruckus of happiness and celebration.
The second parade is free style and people can go dressed as they prefer. Some people even decide to wear the same outfit they wore the day before. The event also includes live entertainment, music and trucks with large speakers playing Caribbean music for the enjoyment of the masses.
The parades take place in the city of Castries, parading along the Islet Highway, then John Compton Highway, past the Vigie traffic circle to the seawall. Then turn left onto Jean Baptiste Street. It continues along Jeremie Street, crosses to Peynier, then back to Micoud Street, Jeremie Street, John Compton Highway and ends at Caribbean Cinemas.
The island of Saint Lucia has a varied gastronomy that oscillates between seafood dishes, spicy food, sweets and a good amount of typical drinks. One of the typical beverages of the island is the Piton beer. This beer has been present in St. Lucia since 1992, has an alcohol percentage of 5% and is one of the most popular in the whole island.
The island also has some characteristic sweets known as float bakes or fry bakes. These are flour doughnuts with some sugar and water that are put to fry in plenty of oil. Although they are traditional donuts, they have less sugar than traditional donuts. They can also be covered with powdered sugar once they are ready.
In addition, the city of Castries has a good amount of food places in every street. Some of the most popular eateries are: The Coal Pot, The Pink Plantation House, Antillia Brewing Company- beer garden and retail center, Pink Papaya Patio Restaurant, Caribbean Pirates Limited Restaurant and Bar and The Balcony Restaurant.
Once you find yourself in the carnivals, you can take part in the many events that take place throughout the month of July. In the carnivals of Santa Lucia, the fetes are a must, you have dozens of these and each with a different theme. In addition, we recommend attending the various musical contests and live concerts, where you can listen to classic rhythms of the Caribbean festivities.
If you want to get a little dirty, we recommend you to attend the J’ouvert and have fun with the locals, playing with paint, talc, water and mud from dawn to dawn, all accompanied by good soca music. Both parades are also a must and we recommend purchasing the Mas Bands s packages if it’s within your means.
The city of Castries has a good number of tourist attractions that you can find during your visit to the carnivals.
This is one of the most important tourist centers on the island. In its surroundings you can find a large number of hotels, bars, restaurants, shopping malls, nightclubs and of course, beaches. One of the best beaches in the area is the Naked Fisherman.
It is a large market with friendly people where you can buy a lot of handicrafts and souvenirs. In addition, it has several cultural spaces that you can visit and learn a little more about the traditions of the locals.
This is a studio where they work with wood. On the premises are several artisans who carve, polish, cut, prepare and paint the wood to make various works of art. In addition, they also offer some snacks and drinks.
During the carnival celebrations, the city of Castries has a rather hot climate, with temperatures ranging from 25 to 31 degrees Celsius. We recommend you to stay hydrated at all times and if possible, stay in the shade.
The closest airport to the city of Castries is George F. L. Charles Airport, which receives some flights from the rest of the Caribbean countries. Once you are here, you can use the various means of transportation to reach the center of the city.
The city receives a fair amount of cruise ships through its own port at Point Seraphine.
From the airport you can take a bus to the city center. The ride is 15 minutes.
From the airport you can take the John Compton Highway. The drive is about 15 minutes.