The island is one of the most visited destinations in the Caribbean Festival Washington, but many people are unaware that you don’t have to go all the way to the islands themselves to take part in cultural festivities. The reality is that you can find these cultural celebrations almost anywhere. If you’ve ever wanted to be a part of an authentic tradition but your busy life has made it difficult, not impossible, these are for you!
All about Caribbean Festival Washington
Events are typically held to celebrate local cultural heritage, but sometimes they are also used as fundraisers or to help with feast preparations. Events vary, so they may include drinking songs, dancing, masquerades, and even traditional foods. Most of these cultural events tend to take place during the summer months and may include food and drinks for sale.
Most festivals in the Caribbean involve music and dancing and usually feature a wide variety of Caribbean rhythms. While some dances aren’t authentic to specific Caribbean cultures, others – such as the Slinger dance from Barbados – have been passed down by family members for generations. The most popular types of Caribbean dances used in festivals include:
Stick dances – This is a type of dance that originated in the island nations of the Bahamas and Jamaica. It is a very festive dance that typically requires a “chune” to keep the dancers moving. The dance often includes lots of foot stamping and clapping as well as shaking from side to side.
Calypso – Calypso music originated in Trinidad, but it is also found throughout the Caribbean Islands and carnival culture festival. In addition to Trinidad’s carnival season, many islands have their own local calypso competitions and festivals that showcase this ancient music style.
Soca – This is a popular Caribbean musical style with its origins in Trinidad and Tobago. It has influenced popular music all over the world. The style is very upbeat with lots of percussion and bright, lively songs. Some of the most famous musicians in the world are based on the island including Jimmy Buffett, Chubby Checker, Mighty Sparrow, and Soca legends Steel Pulse.
Steel Band – Originally from Trinidad & Tobago, this type of music has become extremely popular throughout the Caribbean Festival Washington as well as on some other continents. The instruments used in steel band music include a xylophone, a drum kit, and a large bass-drum. The sound is very rich and deep and the musicians have excellent timekeeping skills. Steel bands can be found from Antigua to Dominica to the Virgin Islands, so there’s always a good chance you’ll find one nearby if you’re visiting during the summer months.
Carnival Culture Festival – This is a very popular festival that takes place in Trinidad & Tobago in February or March every year. Many islanders attend the street parades that highlight music, costumes, dancing and beautiful masks along with colorful floats. Although Trinidad & Tobago hosts the biggest carnival celebrations in the Caribbean, smaller carnivals are also held in many other islands. During “rehearsals” people often come together for big cookouts and soca parties along with lots of traditional dance competitions and masquerades.
These types of celebrations are often referred to as festivals even though they sometimes take place over several days and involve many different events and performances.
The Caribbean islands are filled with festivals that feature football, masquerades, and music. Here are a few of the popular ones:
- Carnival culture festival (Trinidad & Tobago, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Vincent). Carnival is a huge celebration that plays out over several days culminating with the masquerade ball. People come dressed in elaborate costumes celebrating Trinidadian and Tobagonian heritage.
- Junkanoo (Bahamas, Bermuda, BVI) – It is not uncommon to find this type of celebration in the Bahamas. It is based on African rhythms and consists of brass bands, dancing, parades and much more.
- Festival of Lights (Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis, The Bahamas). This festival was created by Sir William Arthur Lewis who instituted it as an alternative to carnival in Antigua. The British holiday commemorates Guy Fawkes Day which was renamed Festival of Lights in 1966 after Sir William’s death. There is a parade with elaborate floats and costumes as well as plenty of fun for the entire family.
- Slinger (Barbados) – Another popular festival, the sling can be traced back to the 17th century and is believed to have been brought over by slaves from West Africa. The dance involves two lines of people with one person in front. They are holding two sticks which are used to touch the ground while moving forward in a zigzagging fashion. The music keeps time so that everyone can move forward together, but they must always alternate left-right-left-right to avoid missing steps.
- Long Drums (Bermuda, Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago) – This is a type of music that is often accompanied by a long drum. Its roots are in Africa and it has been known to be performed on the islands of Trinidad and Haiti as well as Bermuda and Grenada.
Festivals and traditions can be found on almost any Caribbean island so if you’re looking for an authentic flavor of the history and culture of the region, you needn’t limit yourself to specific islands or events. Many people choose to participate in local festivals even if they’re not acquainted with the host culture just because of the fun nature of such traditions.
Activities to do at the Caribbean festival
Caribbean festivals are often accompanied by parades, masquerades and celebrations. The following are some of the most popular things to do during such events:
- Eat local foods – There’s nothing like sampling authentic Caribbean foods and drinks while enjoying the festivities!
- Dance – Caribbean festival Washington tend to feature a wide variety of traditional dances which you can learn and practice yourself even if you’re not accustomed to the local customs and rhythms.
- Play music and drum – Another activity that is traditionally practiced during many Caribbean festivals is drumming. It often takes place in large groups, so it’s a great way to meet new people when attending such an event.
- Learn to cook the local delicacies – Another fun activity that takes place during festivals is sampling Caribbean food or watching people prepare various dishes. You can easily find local recipes online (or in books) and then replicate them at home for your family and friends.
- Watch the masquerades – What would any Caribbean festival be without colorful masks? People often create extremely elaborate costumes using feathers, sequins, beads and even diamonds or other jewels. The masks can be quite detailed (and scary depending on the costume!) so go ahead and watch the masquerade parades whenever you get the chance to attend one of these special events.
As you can see, the Caribbean islands are full of festivals and great activities for visitors. If you prefer to relax on your holiday rather than staying in a hotel or resort, visit the islands and visit some of the traditional festivals that take place during the summer months.
When renting a car, be sure to get one that is designed for Caribbean travel and do not forget about all of the sunscreen and bug spray you’ll need for this sun-drenched region! If you want to know more on the same, then get in touch with Soka Tribe and get the best guidance. For more, information, call us at 202-789-2984 and get help from experts.