Antigua Carnival


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Antigua Carnival

July-August
Antigua and Barbuda was the first nation in the British Caribbean to abolish slavery, in 1834. This distinction moves Antiguans to celebrate for 11 days in the summer.
The initial Carnival celebrations, which date back to 1957, took place earlier in the year, between May and July. However, the festival was later moved to its current position on the calendar to coincide with the already established celebration of the slaves' emancipation. Today, Antiguans begin celebrating the Carnival in late July and continue until the first Tuesday in August.
Music, competitions, and pageantry dominate the proceedings, most of which take place in the capital city of St. John's. Calypso music can be heard throughout the celebration, and the annual calypso competition produces a Calypso Monarch. Other contests include a steel band competition and two beauty pageants, which crown Caribbean Queen and Miss Antigua. Every Carnival also features street parades that are famous for their elaborate glittering costumes.
All the proceedings essentially lead up to J'Ouvert, the party on the first Monday in August. At 4:00 a.m. thousands of people fill the streets of St. John's for street dancing, which is accompanied by the sounds of steel drums and brass instruments.
CONTACTS:
Antigua and Barbuda Department of Tourism and Trade
25 S.E. 2nd Ave., Ste. 300
Miami, FL 33131
305-381-6762; fax: 305-381-7908
www.antiguacarnival.com
SOURCES:
FolkWrldHol-1999. p. 475
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