January the first is a public holiday, it is New Year’s Day. It is a month with a lot of local events in Guadeloupe. You can expect a lot of happiness and celebrations with the locals. Later in January, you will enjoy the traditional cake called “galette des rois” during the Epiphany, also called La Fête des Rois. Finally, various activities wil be organized during the carnival of Guadeloupe that is held at the beginning of January. Film lovers will also appreciate the annual International Film Festival.
The Guadeloupean Carnival keeps going on in February with five days of celebrations in the streets. You will be amazed by the costumes and the parades held on the streets. The final parade will be during Ash Wednesday, with the burning of King Carnival on a funeral pyre. To enjoy it fully, stay until the night parade when people bury the ashes of King Carnival in Pointe-à-Pitre. Finally, there is a public holiday for Mi-carême, when you will enjoy parades and celebrations.
Music lovers shouldn’t miss the Classical music festival held every year on the island called Les nuits Caraïbes, at an historic coffee plantation in Basse-Terre. Among the very famous local events, there is also the Junior Track and Field championship open to athletes, called Carfita Games, and the GuadaRun, a race organized every year on the island. Thrill seekers will also enjoy Karujet, the annual Jet-ski competition.
April is the month during which locals celebrate the beauty of the sea. First, you will enjoy the “Fête du Crabe”, an event celebrating crabfish when you will taste new savors. Then, you can also celebrate the sea festival, Fête de la Mer, held annually in St François.
Art lovers will absolutely enjoy the Marie-Galante Internatonal Music Festival. This three-day event that we hold each year in May offers Créole Blues concerts as well as market sales or art exhibitions. It is one of the main local events we have in Guadeloupe. Moreover, May is a month with a lot of public holidays. Indeed, May 1st is Labor Day, and the week after there is the Victory in Europe Day on May 8th. Ascension Day and Pentecôte Day are celebrated on varying dates every year. Finally, there is Slavery abolition Day on May 27th.
Sport lovers will enjoy the Volcano Trail. They can participate in an international run through the incredible nature of the volcano La Soufrière on the Island.
On the Sainte Anne Island, you can participate to the Arts and Craft Festival, or the Big Drum Festival called Gwo-Ka by the locals. July is also the month of the national public holiday, called Fête de la Bastille, on the 14th. You will admire the parades, the beautiful pageants, and foremost the incredible firework at the end of the day. July 21st is also a public holiday in honor of Victor Schoelcher who enabled the abolition of slavery on the island.
A lot of summer events are held in Guadeloupe, and especially during the Festival de la Guadeloupe, held during July and August. Different events are organized, celebrating the local traditions, food, or music. This festivals occurs on every part of the island, so don’t forget to check out the different events at the tourist office.
In August we hold one of the most famous local events of the island. It is the “Tour de la Guadeloupe“. This is a cycle race that lasts ten days, with many teams from different countries that participate in the competition. It is actually a small version of the world-famous Tour de France. Here, there are nine different itineraries for the participants that cover all of the island. It is very funny to go and support them. There is also the Festival of the Woman Cook, when women parade in traditional colorful costumes and where you can taste the local specialties during a 5 hours banquet.
Moreover, the Miss Guadeloupe Beauty Contest is also held in July, where you can admire the most beautiful girls of the Caribbean. Assumption’s Day is on the 15th. Finally, fishermen are also at honor during July by Fisherman’s Day, and Patron Saint’s Day, with a beautiful Mass for the fishermen and the benediction of the sea.
November 1st is a public holiday called All Saints Day. This month also marks the beginning of the cockfighting season. On the 11th, there are many parades for the Armistice Day that is also a public holiday.
From December 1st to the 24th, there Is a local event that we call Nwèl Kakado. We celebrate it on the Friday nights and the weekend evenings everywhere on the island, by people singing traditional Christmas songs. The Kakado is a river crayfish that is a local specialty. December is also the moment of the Feast of Pointe-à-Pitre, celebrating the different districts of the city that moves to the sound of a jazz festival. December 24th is Christmas Eve, and a beautiful mass is celebrated at midnight. The 25th is public holiday, and the Saturday after Christmas is called Young Saints Day, a special day for children.