Carnival is coming in Guadeloupe islands

Ask a Guadeloupean people which is the best festive period in Guadeloupe?

They will answer for sure: Carnival !


Photo taken by Colbi Media 

Carnival is an institution in Guadeloupe islands!

It’s a major part of the DNA of our islands, Guadeloupe without its Carnival time will not be Guadeloupe anymore .

People are immersed in carnival since their childhood! When I was a child, preparing the parade of the school, was a key moment of the year. My eyes sparkled from the choice of our costume until the parade in the street in front of the proud eyes of my mother.

And year after year from the first sunday of January until the Ash Wednesday, the heart of the Guadeloupean people is connected with Carnival.

Indeed, each sunday during this period a parade takes place in one of the city of Guadeloupe islands. There are many carnival bands (more than 90 bands), each coming from a city of Guadeloupe. Each band has its own identity.

A carnival band is the symbiosis of a multitude of talents:

  • The dressmakers, small hands who sew handcrafted costumes
  • The musicians who beats the parades with their instruments
  • The dancers perched on their high heels
  • The make-up artists who beautify the face of the parade
  • The creative persons who think, design and create wonderful and magical worlds
  • The handymen who build these wonderful worlds 

The singularity of all these talents, create the singularity of each band.


Photo taken by Colbi Media

Nevertheless, we can classify all your carnival bands in 4 main types:

The Bands called “Caisses Claires”, the “ Ti – Mass”, the “ Synthé” and the one called “A Po”.

The bands called “ A Po” are my favorite one. The most famous bands are Akiyo and Voukoum!
This type of band has something special, something mystical, something transcendent.
Indeed, There are always many people in these groups, they parade with almost military cadence with the sound of Ka.

What is Ka? Look at my previous post: Gwoka, the heartbeats of Guadeloupe.

At each of their passage, you feel literally away. The smell of incense, the cracking of whips on the ground and the strong and powerful songs are a journey at themselves.
Besides, their costumes are often done with re-used materials (old newspapers, plastic bottles, old fabrics,…) or natural materials (coconut leafs, calabash, “gwo siwo “sugar cane sirup mixed with soot,…).

To finish, when they arrived in the street they use to sing “Ban nou lè, Pou nou pasé!”, that means “Move out, we are coming!”. Everybody moves instantaneously from the street, opening a big space as to let the king of the party goes away.


Photo taken by Colbi Media

I definitely love Carnival in Guadeloupe island!

For sure, this moment will last forever in your mind!

But Carnival experience is not only the bands showing off in the streets, it’s also all the atmosphere around these parades.

  • The spectators gather along the roads who are singing, dancing and laughing
  • The street sellers who offer refreshing “Sinobòl” (crushed ice with grenadine syrup)
  • The more or less scaring maskers, trying to frighten young and old people
  • Funny people who entertain the crowd 

All the senses are exalted, memories are creating!

At this stage, I’m pretty sure you want to experience Carnival in Guadeloupe islands, feel these emotions and create unforgettable memories! Come and join us!

Let me share with you some tips to enhance this beautiful experience:

  • Pass Goziéval”: You want to be immersed in a band and be a part of the parade. You can do it! For further details, please contact the board office tourism of the city of Gosier. Phone number: +590 5 90 84 80 80
  • As a spectator, discuss with your neighbour, don’t be shy! A question to start the discussion: “Quel est votre groupe préféré?” that means “What is your favorite band?”. Fore sure, the person in front of you will be glad to talk with you! Every Guadeloupean people has his/her favorite band!

To finish, let me give some practical advices:

  • Please find  the calendar 2017 of the parades. 

    Anse-Bertrand January 8th Deshaies February 17th
    Pointe-Noire January 15th Baie-Mahault February 19th
    Petit-Canal January 20th Le Lamentin February 24th
    Sainte-Anne January 22nd Pointe-à-Pitre February 26th
    Gosier (Goziéval) January 29th Saint-François February 27th
    Le Moule Jebruary 5th Shrove Tuesday February 28th
    Les Abymes February 12th Ash Wednesday February 29th

    The dates can still be updated. Please stay connected. Subscribe to the newsletter.

    **Update january 2017: Please find here an updated calendar of Carnival 2017 in Guadeloupe islands (page 42)

  • The parades are always in the center of the city. For instance, if the parade takes place in the city of Gosier, it will be in center of Gosier, close the city hall, the church, in the main street.
  • The parades are free. You do not have to pay anything to see the show.
  • For the parade in the daytime, the sun can be hard. Bring back some refreshing drinks, sunscreen, hats, …
  • The parades can last long (severals hours), if you can provide a little chair (easy to bring) it can be useful.

I hope all these inside insights help you to figure out how our carnival in Guadeloupe island is doing and how amazing this experience can be!

If you want more details, don’t hesitate to contact me or to let me a comment. I will be happy to read you, and glad to help you!

I can not finish this post without this awesome video of bands  called “A Po”.

Look and experience it ! 🙂  (it’s better in HD)

Video from YarmaVideos.

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  1. From New York to Guadeloupe islands for less than 650 US$ - Guadeloupe For You | 28th Oct 16

    […] Your flight will be provided by Norgewian Airlines for 218 US$ per person. This rate is from 02/08 to 02/15,  the perfect period to experience the atmosphere of Guadeloupe islands. Indeed, at this time, Carnival is going there, and it‘s a “must” to enjoy. Have a look on my previous post: Carnival is coming in Guadeloupe islands […]

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