The Charleston Carnival, also known as Carifest, is a Caribbean-themed celebration that occurs every year in thecity of Charleston, South Carolina. The event pays tribute to theCaribbean community of the area through cultural manifestations typical of the region. The event is full of activities for the entertainment of both adults and children of the city.
Charleston Caribbean Carnivals is a celebration that honors Caribbean American Heritage Month or Caribbean Heritage Month. The celebration is all aboutexpressing Caribbean roots to their fullest expression, so you’ll find dozens of cultural manifestations, especially through food, art, music, dancing and carnival costumes.
Not everything can beuncontrolled partying at the Carifest, as you also count with some informative and commemorative events regarding the culture and history of the Caribbean people and their betrayals. Despite not being the most fun thing in the world, it is the perfect time to learn about the different cultural elements of the Caribbean and why Caribbean people celebrate carnivals the way they do.
If you live near or will be traveling near South Carolina during carnivals, you should not miss this great opportunity to get to know and celebrate the Caribbean carnival. You will enter a lot of entertainment, music bands, singers, parades, the best Caribbean food and dozens of fun and entertaining activities.
The Carifest or Caribbean Charleston Carnival is not a typical carnival celebration, as this is not celebrated in the traditional period of Lent, between the month of February and March, but in the month of June. The Charleston Caribbean Carnival is celebrated during Caribbean-American Heritage Month, whose purpose is to celebrate the legacy and traditions of Caribbean immigrants and children of Caribbean immigrants residing in the United States.
The Caribbean Carnival of Charleston is celebrated at the end of June, occupying 4 days of celebration where parades, music and food fair are included.
Carnival is probably the oldest celebration in the world, originating in Europe. During Ancient Rome, carnival-like festivals were held that venerated certain gods such as Dionysus, the god of wine. When the Middle Ages arrived, the festivals began to proliferate especially in the cities of Rome and Venice, where they were celebrated fervently.
The carnival festivities were and are celebrated before theChristian Lent, so people used the carnival as an excuse to eat large amounts of food and drink large amounts of alcohol, since, once the religious celebration began, they had to undergo the breakfast. Carnival took on new forms and began to incorporate large and colorful celebrations, shows, acrobats, food, dancing, costumes and masks.
Masks began to be an important part of carnivals, especially in Venice, where the production of masks became an admired work. Masks allowed people to acquire a new personality, commit acting they would not normally do or enter into a specific play theme. The Venetian parties began to spread to all parts of Europe and with them, the shows, masks, costumes and dances.
The parties began to spread throughout the rest of Europe, reaching Spain and Portugal, equally acquiring the themes of costumes and masks. Due to the excesses of the festivities and the immoral nature of the festivities, carnival was heavily censored and even banned in most countries. The church and authorities did everything possible to suppress the festivities; however, they managed to survive thanks to the fact that some people kept the festivities alive through secret or private parties.
After several years, the festivities began to become somewhat more civilized, so the church more or less tolerated carnivals. In this way, carnival began to be related to religious festivals due to their proximity to Lent, and they permeated deeply into European traditions..
With the colonization of the New World, carnivals came to proliferate in the Americas and the Caribbean. The colonists began to impose their religious beliefs, including the celebration of carnivals. Thus, a syncretism of celebration emerged that included European celebrations, African traditions by the slaves and Creole elements of the natives. At first the carnival was only celebrated by whites, free blacks and Creoles, once slavery was abolished, it began to be celebrated by the new men.
Carnival became an important element in the traditions and identity of the Caribbean and Latin American people, celebrated fervently every year. With the Caribbean migration to other countries, the traditional Caribbean carnival managed to proliferate to other lands, serving as a commemoration for their culture, including traditional food, dances and music..
As is the case of the Carifest in Charleston , the Caribbean carnival began to be held to commemorate the Caribbean communities of the place. The holiday has been celebrated in South Carolina for about 10 years, coinciding with Caribbean Heritage Month, so it is celebrated with lots of parties, parades and food.
The Caribbean Carnival is celebrated in Charleston , the second most populous city in the United States in the state of South Carolina.
The city of Charleston was founded in the year 1670 and has an area of 405 square kilometers where approximately 130,000 people live.
During the celebration of the carnival, the organization provides spaces for the various personalities of the University of Charleston to present information and debates on Caribbean traditions, along with their history and identity.
The Carnival Village is a venue provided by the organization for the presentation of the various bands and musicians. The village features soca and Reggae artists from theCaribbean islands.
Mas Bandas are an important part of Caribbean celebrations. Most of the Caribbean islands have their own companies offering these services. Likewise, many other countries in America have also developed this concept to celebrate the Caribbean-themed carnivals for the participants of the various cities.
The organization of theCharleston Carnival is regularly looking for new Bandas Mas, which is why it has been accepting applications from companies and individuals to nurture the festivities with new designs and services.
Caribbean Carnival is known for its large themed parties that occur from start to finish, which is why the Caribbean Carnival Charleston is no exception.
The event provides participants of a themed party known as “White Fete”, a themed party in which people dress completely in white. In addition, there is usually an After Party to culminate the festivities as it should be.
If you want to participate in the Caribbean carnival in Charleston, be sure to plan your trip, make an itinerary of activities and book your preferred accommodations in advance. Also, remember to pack light clothing so you can fully enjoy your carnival.
If you are coming from other parts of the world and are not a resident of the United States, be sure to make the necessary arrangements to visit the country. The process may depend on your country of origin and other elements that are taken into consideration when processing permits.
Heat, physical activity and the consumption of alcoholic beverages can cause your body to break down and dehydrate quickly. For this reason, we recommend that you stay hydrated at all times and apply sunscreen whenever your skin needs it. It wouldn’t hurt to bring an umbrella to protect you from the sun or to keep you under the shade if you have sensitive skin.
We remind you that the events that take place during the Charleston Caribbean Carnival have a price that you must pay to access them. The price of each one is $15 and you can decide which one to attend. We recommend you attend all of them for a complete carnival experience.
We recommend that you experience a full carnival celebration. If possible and you have the financial resources, you could purchase the Mas Bandas package to participate directly in the carnivals. Also, if your family or you are from the Caribbean, you can bring a flag to the parade, we assure you that many people will come up to talk to you and you will make many friends.
The Charleston Caribbean Carnival boasts a generous amount of events for the few days of festivities. For several editions of the carnival, several events have been held that have been maintained over the years, so we are going to offer you a list of the events that occur regularly. The order of the list is related to the order of the events during the carnival.
Place:University of Charleston.
Time: from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Venue: Canon Street Arts Center
Time: From 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Place: From John & King Street to Brtittle Bank Park, arriving at theCarnival Village.
Time: from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Venue: Canon Street Arts Center
Time: from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Typical Caribbean food and drinks are served during the event.
The parade is one of the most anticipated events of the carnival that contemplates the participation of a large number of people who make up the Caribbean community. The parade starts at 4:00 pm and crosses some of the main streets of the city. The event is integrated by several dance groups, some samba schools, the Bandas Mas and some revelers on foot. Children are also part of the parade, wearing fantasy costumes with various themes such as princesses, fairies and heroes.
Musical bands also form part of the parade atop large trucks traversing the streets. The bands of metal drums are the ones who mark the rhythm of the revelers. In addition, they also have various songs at the request of the public, pampering them with their favorite songs.
The most ostentatious, colorful and largest costumes lead the parade, quite close to trucks with big sound systems that liven up the festivities and set the pace for revelers to strut up and down the street from one side to the other.
The parade is definitely the event you won’t want to miss, as at the end the party continues in the carnival village with top-notch food and entertainment..
The parade route follows a well-defined route starting between John Street and King Street, then continues down King Street to Sumter Street and then crosses over to Congress Street. The parade continues along Hagood and then culminates at Brittle Bank Park.
The Charleston Caribbean Carnival or Carifest gives you the opportunity to have a complete carnival experience, as it not only offers you shows, parades, music and a symposium, but also has different food stands where you can try a good amount of characteristic Caribbean dishes, cocktails and delicious and unique traditional drinks.
One of the traditional foods of the Caribbean is the Curry Goat or Curry Goat. This dish is a kind of stew made with pieces of goat meat, vegetables, spices, tomatoes and some herbs. All the ingredients are cooked for several hours to elaborate a complex and delicious dish full of Caribbean flavor. The dish is served hot and is always accompanied by white rice.
One of the most famous drinks in the Caribbean is the Rum Punch. Rum Punch is one of the most delicious drinks you can get from the Caribbean, as it contains fresh lime sumo, fresh orange sumo, fresh pineapple or pineapple sumo, grenadine and a good dose of traditional rum and white rum. The result is a delicious and refreshing cocktail. This drink is one of the most easily adapted, as it has different versions and ingredients to form new innovative and delicious drinks.
In addition, the city of Charleston offers a generous amount of restaurants, bars and cafes that you can visit to expand your dining experience in the city. Charleston’s most famous eateries include Peninsula Grill, Grill 225, Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar, Leyla Fine Lebanese Cuisine, Oak Steakhouse, Anson Restaurant, The Macintosh, East Bay Meeting House Bar & Cafe, Burwell’s Stone Fire Grill and Fleet Landing Restaurant.
To get the full carnival experience, we recommend attending the symposium that the organization holds to learn a little more about the history, traditions and culture of the Caribbean countries. After that, you can attend the All White themed party that goes on until the wee hours of the morning. Finally, don’t forget to attend the Grand Parade that winds through the city streets to Brittle Bank Park..
The concerts and food fairs in Villa Carnaval are alsoa must. By attending, you will be contributing to small businesses and families who work very hard to put on this event. We encourage you togo and visit the city of Charleston for a small Caribbean-themed celebration.
It is a large park of 5 hectares that was created in the year 1990. The park consists of several sections comprising of a large fountain, oak canopy, benches and several walkways.
This is a plantation 15 miles from Charleston. The entire compound was built in several phases between the 18th and 19th centuries. Today the plantation functions as a museum and houses several landscaped gardens. The grounds consist of ponds, statues, a greenhouse, a mill and a stable.
It is a historic house that was built by slave trader Nathaniel Russell in 1808. Today it functions as a museum that has several pieces of antique arts and furniture. The house has two floors and a garden.
Downtown Charleston is relatively safe; however, the city’s crime rate has been on the rise in recent years. We recommend that you talk to residents to find out what areas to avoid at night.
We recommend that you do not go out alone, pay attention to your surroundings, keep your belongings in a safe place and contact the police with any irregularities. Also, we recommend the following products to keep your belongings safe:
During the celebration of the Caribbean carnival in Charleston, the city has a somewhat hot weather, with temperatures ranging between 23 and 30 degrees Celsius. We recommend you to stay hydrated and pack light and cool clothes so you don’t feel uncomfortable during the celebrations.
The city has its own airport, which is located about 20 kilometers from the city center. TheCharleston International Airport receives a good number of flights from various cities in the country such as Seattle, Cincinnati, Chicago, Boston, Austin, Atlanta and New York.
In addition, it also receives someflights from Europe, specifically from London. Once you are here, you can take one of several means of transportation to reach the city center.
The city of Charleston has a few train stations that connect to several stations in other cities. However, evaluate your options well, as the journey from some cities can exceed 9 hours, so it is much more convenient to travel by plane than by train.
From the airport you can take a CARTA bus to the city center. The ride is 30 minutes and the price ranges between 2 and 15 US dollars.
From the airport you can take I-26 E to the city center. The trip takes about 20 minutes.
If you decide to take a cab the price of the taxi ranges between 5 and 7 US dollars.