The Caribbean Tourism Organization has declared 2019 as the Year of Festivals. Comprising Dutch, English, French and Spanish-speaking countries and territories, the Caribbean offers tourists the luxury of selecting from a wide array of destinations to experience unique cultures and traditions.
“The Year of Festivals will focus on the fascinating events that have become an integral part of the Caribbean tourism calendar. Festivals help to energize communities across the region while giving visitors more reasons to enjoy our destinations,” said Hugh Riley, Secretary General of CTO.
With the Caribbean offering a wonderful blend of culture, beautiful and welcoming people and magnificent sites to see, visitors are definitely going to have a memorable experience.
Here are significant carnivals with cultural and historical groundings to attend in June if you are thinking of taking a trip to the Caribbean.
In 2019, Barbuda Caribana is scheduled to be held from Friday, June 7 to Monday, June 10. The festival is an annual one that celebrates the emancipation of slavery on the island which started in 1957.
The interesting twist about this festival is its focus on culture, entertainment and modernism as a way of making the island a summer destination for tourists.
The 4-day festival is an outdoor party with nonstop music, display of culture from different African groups, as well as, a beauty pageant that crowns the Queen of the Pageant, also known as Queen of Carnival who then acts as Cultural Ambassador for the year.
The festival opens with a huge outdoor mas and parade and also has special tour packages for visitors.
Heroes Weekend – Bermuda
For their courage, outstanding achievements and noble qualities, several black heroes from all walks of life, including history, politics, culture and entertainment are honoured at this festival.
Started in the 1920s, the Bermuda Heroes Weekend has become the island’s most anticipated annual festival. Heroes Weekend brings people together to celebrate their African heritage and how it has developed into a unique African Bermudian heritage. Visitors to the festival will be treated to local cuisine, oca and reggae music, a parade of bands, boat rides, brunch parties, as well as, storytelling session that remind them of their past and people that played a role in getting the country to where it is today.
This year, the festival is expected to happen between June 14 to 17.
Crop Over Festival – Barbados
One of the most popular festivals in the whole of the Caribbean remains the Barbados Crop Over Festival which climaxes with an elaborate costume parade. Attended by people from all over the world, the festival has gained grounds as the place to be in June, thanks to stars like Rihanna.
Formerly known as Harvest Home, Crop Over or “Crawpova”, as it is referred to by locals, is known to have begun in 1687. The festival, which is a celebration of the end of the sugar plantation slavery in Barbados, is also a derivative of the harvest festivals in Africa such as the yam festival celebrated in Nigeria and Ghana and carried on by the slaves in those areas. The festival is expected to end on August 5, 2019.
Welches Fest – Anguilla
The Welches Fest might be one of the youngest festivals in the Caribbean only starting in 2008, but the festival has managed to catch the interest of all generations and become a grand celebration as compared to its humble beginnings in the small village of Welches. Celebrated on Whit Monday, the festival was started to celebrate things of old, including food and drink making.
Over the years, organisers increasingly showcased the island’s cultural heritage. The festival takes participants back in time serving as a real-time machine that allows participants to have a feel of life and living it several years before them. The festival is unique for giving the older generation a centre stage. One of the highlights of the festival remains the old-time queen show which has gained more popularity after replacing the traditional wedding show.
Charles Town Maroon Conference & Festival – Jamaica
The island of Jamaica has the most festivals with something happening every month. In June, the country will host the 11th Annual Charles Town Maroon Conference & Festival which seeks to not only celebrate the Maroons who played a significant role in changing the history of Jamaica but also make the celebrations more significant with several conferences held in hopes to add to academia and written history.
It offers a unique combination of scholarly panels and cultural events and brings maroons and indigenous peoples together with scholars and locals to examine the ways their legacies have endured, creolised, and resonated in the Caribbean, Africa, Canada, Australia, South America, the United Kingdom and Europe, and the United States.
This year, the festival will be held from June 21 to June 23. The festival also entails cultural performances and display of all things of historical significance.