Guadeloupe Holidays, Events, Calendar

Wonderful local friends, Guadeloupe, French, Caribbean, Island
Copyright © John Smith, All Rights Reserved.
Guadeloupe’s local culture is diverse and well-developed. From distinguished Nobel laureate authors to the creators of popular Zouk music, from legendary cuisiniéres (cooks) to artists of every description who create unique works in their ateliers (workshops), there is much to experience and celebrate in Guadeloupe.

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.

JANUARY

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.

MARCH

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

APRIL

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.

MAY

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

JUNE

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

JULY

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

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

NOVEMBER

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

DECEMBER

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.
French Caribbean Map with St. Martin, St. Barts, St. Barth, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Les Saintes and Marie-Galante

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