Feel the rush
The Bahamas comes alive at year-end with the annual Junkanoo masquerade, as costumed dance troupes “rush” through the streets, performing their complicated routines to the sounds of cowbells, goatskin drums, whistles, and horns. Junkanoo festivities typically begin in the wee hours of the morning, and end somewhere around 9 am. The masqueraders’ elaborate and brightly coloured costumes are made from some combination of crêpe paper, fabric, cardboard, and wood, all in an attempt to capture the title of best Junkanoo group. While Bay Street in Nassau is said to be the best place to experience everything first-hand, Junkanoo parades also take place in Grand Bahama Island, Bimini, the Exumas, and the Abacos.
When: 26 December and 1 January
Where: Nassau and other venues around the Bahamas
For more info: visit the Bahamas Tourist Board at www.bahamas.com
ST VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES
Nine mornings of carolling contests, competitions for the best illuminated communities and gardens, and early morning (4 am!) sea baths are just some of the things you can look forward to as St Vincent and the Grenadines celebrate their annual Nine Mornings Festival. And this year promises to be epic, as 2013 marks one hundred years of this unique tradition. A hundred-day countdown started on 7 September, there will be a special lighted street parade featuring traditional music, characters, and flambeau on 1 December, and the actual festival starts a couple of weeks later. With almost fifty-two communities involved across the islands, you can participate in something new each day — a quadrille, ring games, drama performances — and just revel in Christmas, Caribbean-style.
Where: venues around St Vincent and the Grenadines
When: 16 to 24 December
For more info: call +784 451 2180 or visit the Nine Mornings Festival page on Facebook
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
NGC Bocas Lit Fest South Central
When: 16 and 17 November
Where: venues in San Fernando and Chaguanas
What: T&T’s literature festival puts on a special weekend-long programme of authors’ readings, performances, and workshops in the unofficial capitals of south and central Trinidad
For more info: visit www.bocaslitfest.com
When: 11 to 17 November
Where: St James and Cedros
What: Shia Muslims parade tadjahs (replica mausoleums) through the communities of St James and Cedros to commemorate the assassination of the Prophet Mohammed’s two grandsons. It starts with Flag Night (11 November) and ends on Teejah Day (17 November), when the tadjahs are destroyed in the sea.
For more info: visit www.nalis.gov.tt/Research/SubjectGuide/Hosay/tabid/565/Default.aspx?
A Christmas Jubilee
When: 5 to 8 December
Where: Queen’s Hall, St. Ann’s
What: Featuring the Marionettes’ adult, Youth and Children’s Choirs under the baton of Gretta Taylor, the Marionettes continue their 50th anniversary celebrations with a programme of audience Christmas favourites and the world premiere of There was a man sent from God, composed by their Assistant Musical Director Dr. Roger Henry.
For more info: www.marionetteschorale.com
Embrace the stage
In past years, the Caribbean Secondary Schools’ Drama Festival has been held in Antigua, Guyana, and Jamaica. Students from those three countries, along with peers from Anguilla, Bermuda, and Trinidad and Tobago, will all participate in the 2013 festival — the seventh one since it was founded — which takes place in Barbados this December. Apart from a series of plays by visiting delegations, says festival co-founder Icil Phillips, the programme will include “cultural exchanges with local secondary schools, a teacher’s workshop on assessing the performing arts, the annual general meeting of the festival, a workshop on tuk [Barbados’s indigenous musical genre] and Landship, and a youth forum that discusses the state of theatre in the CSME.”
When: 8 to 15 December
Where: Queen’s Park Steel Shed, Bridgetown
For more info: email the Barbados Association of Drama Educators at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call +246 238 5625
Golden Rock Regatta
When: 11 to 18 November
Where: St Martin, St Barths, St Kitts, St Eustatius
What: An annual event, the regatta includes seven races between the four islands. The weeklong programme will kick off with a party in Philipsburg, and end with a prize-giving dinner at Captain Olivers Restaurant in St Martin.
For more info: email regatta chairman Juul Hermsen at email@example.com, or call +31 40 2428392
Montserrat Christmas Festival
When: 14 December to 1 January
Where: Festival City, Little Bay Playing Field
What: Calypso competitions, the Festival Queen competition, costumed troupes, choral singing, a performing arts festival, and fetes are just some of the things that make up this two-week extravaganza, as Montserrat celebrates everything that makes this island paradise unique.
For more info: email firstname.lastname@example.org, call +664 491 8555, or check out the Montserrat Annual Festival page on Facebook
Caribbean Rum and Beer Festival
When: 22 to 23 November
Where: Grand Anse
What: For the second year in a row, Grenada will host the festival, with its taste contest, cocktail wars, culinary displays, and golf tournament. And that’s just a drop in a barrel, as connoisseurs sample some of the best rum and beer products in the world.
For more info: visit www.rumandbeerfestival.com
The islands of New Zealand are on the other side of the world, but come December, Caribbean eyes will be looking that way, as the West Indies cricket team heads off on a five-week tour. The Windies will play against New Zealand in three Tests, five one-day internationals, and two T20 matches from December 3 to January 15, 2014. The tour will take the team through some of New Zealand’s top holiday spots over the Christmas holidays, so cricket fans will get a chance not only to cheer their favourite team, but also to experience the land of Lord of the Rings fame at its best. And in between Christmas preparations back home in the Caribbean, true believers will be following the series avidly on television, radio, and online.
West Indies vs New Zealand, 2013–2014 tour schedule
3 to 7 December: 1st Test, University Oval, Dunedin
11 to 15 December: 2nd Test, Hawkins Basin Reserve, Wellington
19 to 23 December: 3rd Test, Seddon Park, Hamilton
26 December: 1st ODI ,Eden Park, Auckland
29 December: 2nd ODI, McLean Park, Napier
1 January: 3rd ODI, Queenstown Events Centre, Queenstown
4 January: 4th ODI, Saxton Oval, Nelson
8 January: 5th ODI, Seddon Park, Hamilton
11 January: 1st T20I, Eden Park, Auckland
15 January: 2nd T20I, Westpac Stadium, Wellington