Guadeloupe Holidays, Events, Calendar
Colorful festivals are held throughout the year and performances of traditional music and dance are regularly scheduled. Art galleries, museums and fascinating historical sites abound. A general guide to many annual events appears below. For specific dates and details, please contact the island's Tourist Office.
On Public Holidays, government offices, banks, and most businesses are closed.
New Year's Day. Public Holiday on January 1
Epiphany / La Fête des Rois. Celebration in many homes and hotels, culminating in the serving of a traditional cake called galette des rois
Guadeloupe's annual International Film Festival, FEMI (dates vary)
Carnival de Guadeloupe. Begins in early January and continues through the culmination of Carnival on Ash Wednesday. Various activities.
FEBRUARY / MARCH (dates vary with the Easter Holiday)
Carnival. 5 days of parties, parades and costumed revelers in the streets, culminating on Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras in the US).
Ash Wednesday. Culmination of Carnival, with final parade and Burning of King Carnival, Vaval, on a funeral pyre. Night parade with torches to bury Vaval in Pointe-à-Pitre.
Mi-Carême, or Mid-Lent (Public Holiday). Parades, parties during day-long respite from Lent.
Les Nuits Caraïbes. Classical music festival held annually at La Caféière Beauséjour, an historic coffee plantation in Pointe Noir, Basse-Terre.
CARIFTA GAMES. Junior track and field championships open to athletes, age 13 to 19, from the Caribbean nations that are members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Island location varies from year to year.
Guadarun. 150km race held annually on the islands of Guadeloupe, Terre-de-Haut, Terre-de-Bas, Marie-Galante and La Desirade.
Karujet. Annual jet-ski competition.
Trophée Gardel. Regatta in Saint-François
Fête du Crabe à Morne-a-l'Eau. Crab Festival held each April in Morne-à-l'Eau
Fête de la Mer / Celebration of the Sea held annually in St. François.
End of cockfighting season.
Marie-Galante International Music Festival. The annual three day event, held each May, features Créole Blues concerts as well as exhibitions and market sales.
Labor Day. Public Holiday on May 1
Victory in Europe Day. Public Holiday on May 8
Ascension Thursday. Public Holiday. Date varies
Pentecost Monday. Public Holiday. Date varies
Slavery Abolition Day. Public Holiday on May 27
Volcano Trail. An international run in the mountains surrounding Le Soufrière volcano, Guadeloupe
Music Day. A celebration of music in all the islands of the Guadeloupe archipelago
Arts & Crafts Festival. Sainte-Anne. OMCS, Tel: 05 90 88 12 16
Gwo-Ka (Big Drum) Festival in Sainte-Anne (Music, Dances). OMCS, Tel: 05 90 88 12 16
Fête Nationale / Bastille Day. Public Holiday. Pageants, parades, fireworks. July 14
Victor Schoelcher Day. Public Holiday. Honors Victor Schoelcher and end to slavery in 1848. July 21
JULY / AUGUST
Festival de la Guadeloupe. A series of annual summer events (Food, Music, Folklore) throughout the island in July and August
Tour de la Guadeloupe. 10 day International Cycle race, teams from many countries. 9 rough itineraries cover the island in a reduced version of the celebrated Tour de France.
Fête des Cuisinières, or Festival of the Women Cooks. One of Guadeloupe's most colorful events. Women parade in Creole costume, carrying baskets brimming with island specialties. Morning mass at Cathedral and 5-hour banquet (visitors are invited). Locale: Ecole Amédée Fengarol, Pointe-à-Pitre. Information: Maison de Cuisinières Tel: 05 90 91 22 75
Traditional Music Festival in the town of Le Moule
Miss Guadeloupe Beauty Contest
Assumption Day. Public Holiday. August 15
Fisherman's Days. Marina at St. François
Patron Saint's Day and Fishermen's Day in Les Saintes, Terre-de-Haut. Mass for the fishermen, procession, benediction of the sea
All Saints Day. Public Holiday. November 1
Cockfighting Season begins.
Armistice Day. Public Holiday. Parades. November 11
Music Day. Honors the patron saint of music. Concerts in churches and various communities
Nwèl Kakado / Chanté Noël. December 1 - 24. Originated in the village of Vieux-Habitants, now celebrated on Friday nights and weekend evenings throughout the island. Christmas carols and traditional celebrations. The kakado, a river crayfish, is a specialty enjoyed by everyone in December.
Feast of Pointe-a-Pitre. A celebration of the city's various districts, with concerts and public entertainment.
Pointe-a-Pitre Ilojazz Festival. A celebration of jazz with free concerts in Abymes and at the Place de la Victoire in Pointe-a-Pitre
Christmas Eve. December 24. Dancing and dining on Créole specialties. Midnight mass with French and Créole carols
Christmas Day. December 25. Public Holiday
Young Saints Day. Saturday after Christmas. Traditional masses for children, who are free to take their Christmas gifts to church.
Réveillon de la Saint Sylvestre / New Year's Eve celebrations.
Photo © 2002-2013 Gerald Hill / Used by Permission.
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