Guadeloupe's Events and Festivals

Join in on Guadeloupe celebrations anytime of the year

Photo credit: © Guadeloupe Island Tourist Board

Festivals in Guadeloupe
 

Guadeloupe is overflowing with events that celebrate their cultural heritage and things that matter most to the people of the island. Music festivals are particularly popular in Guadeloupe, as are events that honor the surrounding seas.

 

Cultural Celebrations

If you can go to just one of Guadeloupe's annual events, make it Carnival. The event takes place during the week before Ash Wednesday, and consists of islanders dressed up in colorful masquerade costumes, reveling in the streets. There are two main parades, one in Pointe-à-Pitre and the other on Basse-Terre. The day before Ash Wednesday, people dressed as black and white devils dance in the streets, and that night islanders “cremate” a stuffed dummy called King Vaval.

October is when Guadeloupe honors its Creole heritage with Creole WeekInternational Creole Day takes place during this week as well, and the week long festivities include poetry readings, theatrical performances, and musical concerts. 

 

Sporting Events

Carifta Games is a junior track and field championship held during the month of March. Caribbean athletes between the ages 13-19 participate, though the location varies from year to year.

In May Guadeloupe hosts the French Surfing Competition. Over 200 long boarders, body boarders, and body surfers compete in Anse-Bertrand, Grande-Terre, and Saint-François.

One of the island's most unique sporting events is the Karujet Jet Ski World Championship, which takes place in June.  Professional jet skiers race from Pointe-à-Pitre harbour, through nine obstacles, and end in Petit-Bourg.

August is when the Marie-Galante Traditional Sailboat Race takes place. The race begins in Saint-Louis, and racers hit Grand-Bourg and Capesterre, before returning to Saint-Louis.

August is also when the Guadeloupe Cycling Race takes place. During this event, ten professional cycling teams complete a 1300km race in  Pointe-à-Pitre.

The Triskell Cup, a late season regatta, happens each year in October. Sailors from multiple Caribbean islands race their catamarans, multihulls, and spinnakers around Le Gosier. 

 

Music Festivals

Blues music rings out loud once a year in May, when blues musicians from around the world descend on the island of Marie Galante for several days, to play in a series of musical concerts. In some years there are related events, including screenings of documentaries about the history of creole blues music. 

Founded in 2000, and originally called the Creole Blues Festival, the now Terre de Blues Festival of Marie-Galante is an exciting music event that spans over several days and several locations.

June is a great month for visitors looking to dance to the beats of traditional island music. The Antilles Music Festival, which takes place in both Guadeloupe and Martinique features zouk, gwo ka, and biguine music. Gwo ka is also celebrated with its own festival in June, at the Gwo Ka Festival, and zouk is the center of attention at the Guadeloupe International Zouk Festival

Rocking out on Anse Champagne, the Karukera One Love Beach Festival is an awesome party of music. Taking place during August every year, this summer festival brings in 10,000 bodies thart  are ready to dance and move to their favorite artists. With stages set up everywhere, and different lineups every year, there is music for everyone. 

If you love reggae and jazz, November's Gwadloup Festival features the best of local acts performing their hits. 

In December, attendees can vote for their favorite singer at the Festival of the Old Creole Song, or jam to live jazz at the International Ilo Jazz Festival.

 

Other Events and Festivals

Movie lovers won't want to miss a few screenings that a part of the FEMI Guadeloupe International Film Festival in January. Award categories center on films that promote the Caribbean lifestyle, and is the only French-speaking film festival on the island.

Crab is king at the Morne à l'Eau Crab Festival, which takes place in April. Visitors can sample multiple varieties and recipes of crabs while listening to live music and checking out booths set up to sell crafts and other goodies.

...don't miss the annual Conch Festival...

 

If you are in Guadeloupe in April, there is an event you won't want to miss, just so you can say that you once saw not one, but many goats in a fashion show. During the La Désirade Goat Festival, goats parade about in people clothing for a fancy dress fashion show.  You will also have the opportunity to sample goat cooked in a variety of ways during the event. 

If you'd like to sample conch, and lots of it, don't miss the annual Conch Festival in November.  The event is held in Vieux-Bourg, and features dozens of conch recipes for sampling, as well as booths of handmade crafts for purchasing.

In August, Guadeloupe hosts a five hour banquet that serves up traditional Creole cuisine called the Festival of the Women Cooks.  The goal of the banquet is to share traditional food with all who wish to attend.

Education is front and center in October, at the Science Festival.  Local schools, libraries, and research organizations come together each year to discuss and learn about the latest in science and technology.  The event is free to all who wish to attend.

The entire month of November is Documentary Film Month. Films from France that are rarely seen are screened at various times throughout the month in schools, libraries, and theaters.

For more information on what events will be taking place during your Guadeloupe stay, contact the Guadeloupe Department of Tourism, the concierge desk at your hotel, or the local paper.  Events and their dates often vary each year, so you never know what happenings will be going on during your time on the island.

 

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