Monday, October 31, 2011

Costumes, Masks, Food & Fun in the Caribbean ...... Carnival Time!

Who doesn't love a good carnival? But I'm not talking about the kind with the ferris wheel and cotton candy. Instead, I'm talking about the exciting carnivals in the Caribbean which have roots is long ago medieval Venice, Italy.
"Carnival" throughout the Caribbean region is a combination of religion, culture and tradition. Unlike Mardi Gras in New Orleans, not all islands associate Carnival with the period of Lent. But some things that are consistent among all of the islands is that the excitement always includes costumes, masks, music, food and parades. Concerts, elected kings and queens, and competitions are also typical.

Winter Carnivals are celebrated in St. Kitts, Aruba, Bahamas, Curacao, Aruba, Dominican Republic, Dominica, Cancun, St. Martin, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, and Trinidad & Tobago. In the spring, you'll find Carnival going on in Cayman Islands, Jamaica, St. Maarten, Bermuda and the Virgin Islands. Summer Carnivals take place in St. Lucia, Antigua, Grenada, Saba, Barbados and Anguilla. For specific schedules of when the local Carnival is occurring and the specific calendar of events, contact that island's tourist board which you can find online.

As you can imagine, there's a lot of excitement and fun if you travel to an island during Carnival whether you are cruising there or spending your vacation in the area. However, there is a downside, too. Because of the scope of the celebration, most locals participate in some way or enjoy as bystanders. You'll find that some stores and services will be closed which may adversely affect your trip. "Carnival" can run from a week all the way up to a month. There will be key days of celebrations which are the days you'll want to be there.... or to avoid, depending on what you are looking to do!

~ Connie

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