Your Guide to Carnival… We’re Looking At You, Rihanna.

by Simone Archer

What if I told you that once a year, the baddest biddies in each Caribbean country strip down and roam the streets, drink rum, dance wildly, and sing at the top of their lungs?

Well, it happens.

These annual celebrations–often referred to as Carnival but known by different names locally–are major Caribbean holidays, but don’t get the same respect stateside. Shout out to Independence Day, but these countries have the best holidays of all time.

Nylon Guys lists out the top five destinations to see all the Carnival action. You’re welcome.

5. Bahamas – Junkanoo

Junkanoo takes place 3 times a year, Boxing Day, New Years Day, and once during the Summer Time. Although many disagree about its beginings, it is widely accepted that the holiday was established during the colonial period, when slaves received 3 days off during the Christmas season.

The next Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival events are scheduled from May 7th-9th, 2015.

Photo Credit:

4. Barbados – Crop Over

Thanks to Badgalriri, Crop over has been getting a lot of attention in recent years. Formerly called Harvest Home, this began as a celebration by slaves of the end of the harvesting period for Sugar Cane.

The next Barbados Crop Over Carnival events are scheduled from July 31st – August 3rd, 2015.

Photo Credit: Badgalriri – via Instagram

3. Jamaica – Bacchanal 

Although they have not celebrated as long as other countries, Jamaica’s Bacchanal carnival is (in my Jamaican opinion) one of the best. Introduced in 1989, the annual celebrations started thanks to Hurricane Gilbert in 1988. The annual trip to Trinidad carnival was cancelled and so these patrons decided to bring carnival to Jamaica.

The next Jamaican Bacchanal Carnival events are scheduled from April 10th – April 12th, 2015.

Photo Credit: Alexan Stewart, Kaci Fennell, and Candice Belnavis

2. Trinidad & Tobago

The Trinidad and Tobago Carnival is an annual event held on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday in Trinidad and Tobago. The Mas tradition started in the late 18th century with French plantation owners organizing masquerades (mas) and balls before enduring the fasting of Lent.

Photo Credit: Fantasy carnival Richard and Anthony designs. Photo by Gary Jordan. Modeled by Arielle Moses.

The next Trinidad & Tobago Carnival events are scheduled from February 8th-9th, 2016.

1. Brazil

The Carnival of Brazil is held between the Friday afternoon (51 days before Easter) and Ash Wednesday at noon, which marks the beginning of Lent, the forty-day period before Easter. This massive event, can be traced historically Portuguese Age of Discoveries when their caravels passed regularly through Madeira, a territory which already celebrated emphatically its carnival season, and where they were loaded with goods but also people and their ludic and cultural expressions

The next Brazil Carnival events are scheduled from February 5th-10th, 2016.

Photo Credit:

Honorable Mentions:

Income taxes can't cover your travel? Get the knock off versions here!

  • Brooklyn, New York – West Indian Day Parade
  • Toronto, Canada – Caribana
  • Miami, Florida – Miami Carnival