Guadeloupe is known for its great taste in festivities, so if you’re planning a holiday in Guadeloupe, give preference to the dates of these events.
Parties all year round...
- After the festive season, rehearsals for Carnival begin. Carnival groups parade through the streets every Sunday evening for 2 months until Ash Wednesday.
- Shrove Tuesday is the big party, when carnival groups compete in the capital Basse-Terre or Pointe-à-Pitre for the best costumes, best music or best choreography (see also Creole music and dance), the theme of which is imposed by the carnival committees. Then the following day, Ash Wednesday, the day on which Carnival ends, the mascot king of Carnival nicknamed Vaval is burned, signalling the end of the festivities. Everyone parades in black and white (to mark Vaval's mourning), and the 40 days of Lent begin.
- After this period of deprivation comes Easter, when families often go camping on the beach and eat crab-based dishes: matété (rice cooked with crabs) or calalou (crabs with madera leaves, served with white rice). (see West Indian gastronomy)
Petite Terre in Guadeloupe
- May 27: celebration of the anniversary of the abolition of slavery. Attention: all closed!
- August 10: Saint Laurent, their patron saint, is the occasion for the fête des cuisinières in Point-à-Pitre. After mass, around 250 cooks parade through the streets of the town, baskets on their heads. A festive meal and dance followed.
- August 24: St. Bartholomew's Day is celebrated with folklore events.
- In August, the Tour de la Guadeloupe is a cycling competition that finishes in Pointe-à-Pitre with a big party.
- At All Saints' Day, candles light up cemeteries. Families eat and feast over flower-decked graves to commune with their dead.
- At Christmas time, families and friends get together to sing carols and celebrate.
For a full schedule of events in Guadeloupe, see our calendar.