What’s happening in Grenada this year? Plenty! So much, in fact, that to get the most out of your visit it’s best to take a good look at the calendar of events before you set off.
There’s nothing more frustrating than turning up and finding that the legendary Annual Carnival finished the day before you arrived or starts the day after you return home.
Rock D Spice
The first big event of the summer is Rock D Spice on 4th June, now in its second year and proving a big hit with its lively celebration of arts and crafts, with traditional and contemporary music to dance along to.
The 45th Annual Regatta on Carriacou is one of the biggest events of the year, still going from strength to strength and centred about the island’s long and distinguished tradition of boat-building. Carriacou sloops are highly regarded throughout the islands as sturdy, fast, reliable and works of art in their own right. The Regatta is held over the weekend marking emancipation, celebrated this year from 22nd July to 2nd August.
Sailors from all the neighbouring islands turn up along with locals and tourists to admire the skills and traditions of the boat builders and watch the annual race. The celebrations include other events such as the Miss Aquaval Queen Show, and the Miss Wet T-Shirt competition, always a top attraction with males in the audience.
Emancipation Day, which celebrates with the rest of the world the abolition of slavery, falls on 2nd August, first Monday of the month, in contrast to everyone else who celebrates it on 1st August. Lots of events, on both Grenada and Carriacou.
Carnival Monday on 9th August sees hundreds of gaily dressed masqueraders thronging the streets in a riot of colour and grotesquely fantastic costumes. Jab-Jabs, the local devils, gyrate to the pulsing, hypnotic rhythms of steel bands and DJs blasting out the latest hits and carnival melodies. There’s a competition in the afternoon for top carnival band, and the party continues well into the evening, with Mas bands winding through the streets waving lights to thunderous applause.
Carnival Tuesday the following day sees a continuation of the carnival and its ceremonial end. Don’t expect to get much sleep over these two days.
The Parang Festival on Carriacou, 17th to 19th December, is the 33rd annual event of its kind, and is held every year on the last weekend before Christmas. It’s the premier cultural event on Carriacou, a celebration of all the varied aspects of the island’s unique music, traditions and entertainment. A deeply-rooted part of Carriacou’s culture was the house-to-house serenading by string bands, and the Festival was inaugurated in 1977 to preserve this tradition. The competition for the trophy and cash prize in the Parang String Bands Competition is fierce, with the players using percussion instruments and often risqué lyrics in their songs.
The last big event of the year is Christmas day. Christmas trees and Nativity scenes are ubiquitous, cards and gifts are exchanged and Santa puts in his annual appearance for the kids.
What’s happening in Grenada and the neighbouring islands this year is simply not to be missed, so check the calendar and make a
note of your favourites. Whatever you’re in to, from high culture to snorkelling, Grenada is bound to have it fully covered!