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6 Caribbean Festivals You Need to Experience

caribbean festivals (1)
Gabby Teaman
Written by Gabby Teaman

What do you get when you blend vibrant live music, a rich history, elaborate costumes, and a diverse cultural experience? All around the world — and all year long — there’s almost always a Caribbean festival just waiting to be explored! Whether you find cheap international flights to the Caribbean or fly to a destination closer to home, you won’t want to miss out on the chance to celebrate the Caribbean people and their remarkable influence on the world.

 

Annual Philadelphia Caribbean Festival
This annual festival has tons of activities from steel band performances and traditional island skits to a marketplace filled with arts and crafts and fun souvenirs! Scrumptious Caribbean dishes ranging from curried goat and codfish cakes to rice and peas will delight your palate as you chill out to traditional island beats.

Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival in Aruba
If you need a little more jazz, soul, or funk in your life, you should scope out the Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival, which features both prominent and up and coming talent. This festival takes place at The Renaissance Marketplace, a beautiful outdoor venue where you can enjoy live music while sipping on a refreshing cocktail. The festival is run by the Caribbean Sea Foundation, which gives back to the Caribbean community by inviting international artists to host musical workshops for local children and musicians.

Atlanta Caribbean Carnival
In the heart of Georgia lies the perfect spot for yet another sparkling Caribbean festival! Representatives of diverse backgrounds come together every year to promote a greater appreciation for Caribbean culture right in Downtown Atlanta. Like many Caribbean carnivals, this one kicks off with a traditional street dance extravaganza and culminates with a delicious breakfast. Live soca, reggae, and Afro Caribbean music are featured!

Bahamas Junkanoo Parade
Junkanoo is a renowned and lively festival held all across the Caribbean. This fun fest features vibrant handmade costumes and spirited music with traditional African instruments such as cowbells and goatskin drums. You will also see fascinating performances showcasing traditional themes like the King and Queen, or the Horse and Devil. Some experts believe that this funky fest gets its name from John Canoe, a West African Prince and hero to his people. Many others believe it used to be celebrated by African slaves when they were allowed a few days off to celebrate Christmas.

Labor Day or West Indian Day Parade in New York
When you think of Labor Day, you imagine that random long weekend in the middle of the summer where you get an extra day off from work. Us too! But you have never experienced it quite like this. People come from all over the world to celebrate by throwing powdered paint, eating traditional foods, and jamming out to live reggae music. Who knew that the small costume party in 1930s Harlem would turn into such a colossal event?

Notting Hill Carnival in London
Nearly one million people attend the Notting Hill Carnival every year! This festival got its start in the late 1950s in order to celebrate unique Caribbean traditions in the UK. You can join other festival goers dressed up in elaborate, jewel toned costumes and dance to traditional meringue, calypso, and reggae music. After you worked up an appetite from all that dancing, treat yourself to a wide variety of traditional Caribbean eats from callaloo, a popular vegetable dish, to seasoned jerk chicken.

Feeling festive yet? Check out some cheap international flights and make your way to one of these awesome Caribbean festivals!

 

Is there another fun Caribbean festival you’re excited about? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Images

Annual Philadelphia Caribbean Festival
Image via Flickr – CC by 2.0 – Jaanus Silla

Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival in Aruba
Image via Flickr – CC by 2.0 – Artemus Jenkins

Bahamas Junkanoo Parade
Image via Flickr – CC by 2.0 – Cathy T

Labor Day or West Indian Day Parade in New York
Image via Flickr – CC by 2.0 – Neil Gibbs

Notting Hill Carnival in London
Image via Flickr – CC by 2.0 – David

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About the author

Gabby Teaman

Gabby Teaman

Gabby Teaman is a content writer who loves writing (of course!), editing, food, and the Oxford comma. When she’s not writing for Fareportal, she can be found Snapchatting videos of her puppy, blasting show tunes, or watching Netflix, all while trying to read everything in sight.

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