There’s Still Time! 2020 Carnival Festivals You Haven’t Missed Yet
By Leah Freeman-Haskin
From Jamaica to Berlin, there is still time to set your inhibitions free and celebrate the joy of life at these Carnival celebrations around the world. If you’re looking for a warm destination to dawn an elaborate costume and play mas before the year is over, check out these Carnivals around the world.
Jamaica Carnival, New Kingston, Jamaica
April 15 – 21
Jamaica is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean. During Carnival, nearly 100,000 people descend on this stunning island for a taste of the cultural explosion that surrounds the Caribbean’s ultimate street party. Carnival in Jamaica is truly an overriding expression of the Jamaican spirit, with competing mas bands, vibrant costumes, and the National Carnival Road March, which is a bright and colorful masquerade parade.
SXM Carnival, St. Maarten
April 16 – May 14
The St. Maarten Carnival, taking place at the Festival Village, is full of activities all month long including a Junior Carnival Queen Pageant, a reggae concert, and a few band competitions. Of course, there will be tons of parties and costumes. A calendar of events can be found at stmaartenevents.com.
Berlin’s Carnival of Cultures, Berlin, Germany
May 29 – June 1
Originally started to protest xenophobia in 1996, Berlin’s Carnival of Cultures is all about celebrating diversity and unity. Nearly one million people join this annual, summer celebration that is a dizzying display of thousands of cultures from around the world. Each year 100 live music shows entertain visitors, while street vendors and market stalls sell delicious food, arts, and crafts.
St. Lucia Carnival, Castries, St. Lucia
July 15 – 22
Hit the streets of Gros Islet and Rodney Bay and party it up with the locals in St. Lucia. Carnival events in St. Lucia are becoming bigger and more vibrant each year, making St. Lucia’s Carnival one of the top Carnivals in the Caribbean.
Crop Over Festival, Barbados
July 29 – August 4
Crop Over is the most culturally significant festival of Barbados, and a cultural experience you should witness firsthand at least once in your lifetime. For Bajans, this 300-year-old tradition marked the end of the sugar cane growing season. Today, Crop Over is a celebration of Barbados heritage, culture, music, dance, food and art, attracting 100,000 people from all over the world.
August 1 -11
An explosion of color and expression overcome the streets of Grenada for the country’s premier cultural event, Spicemas. Art, costumes, and music reflect the African, French, British and Caribbean heritage of the people that call this island paradise home. For Grenadians, the heart of Carnival, is Jab Jab, J’ouvert, an early morning celebration that welcomes Jab Jabs (devils) to the streets. Wearing horned helmets, slathered in oil, dragging chains, people flock to the streets to dance in a true expression of freedom and celebration.
Notting Hill Carnival, London, UK
August 30 – 31
Two million people flood the trendy west London neighborhood of Notting Hill every summer to celebrate Europe’s biggest street party. Those in attendance get transported to the Caribbean through a multicultural, two-day celebration that features colorful street parades and parties, electrifying costumes, and of course, calypso, soca, reggae, and dancehall beats.
Miami Carnival, Miami
October 8 – 12
If you’d like to celebrate Carnival festivities stateside, Miami is your destination. Now in its 36th year, you can expect more than 45,000 people from various Caribbean cultures to fill the streets of Miami and partake in the festivities. Miami Carnival is held at Miami Dade County Fairgrounds on Sunday, October 11. Panorama and Jouvert take place at Central Broward Region Park.
December 26 – January 1
Junkanoo is the heart and soul of Bahamian culture. This four-day party showcases Bahamian heritage and traditions through the ultimate celebration of joy and happiness. An abundance of music, food, and dance descend on this Caribbean island, reminding any visitor of how uniquely proud and culturally rich the people of the Bahamas truly are.