The 41st St. Maarten Carnival Begins April 15

St. Maarten/St. Martin is gearing up for its 41st Annual Carnival with 18 days and nights filled with cultural events, celebration, concerts, and many activities from April 15 to May 2, 2010. This year’s theme, Sweet Revelry Again for Carnival 2010, “showcases the island’s vibrant spirit.”

St. Maarten has two Carnivals, the first is celebrated in the north in February and the second takes place in the south during April. The 18-day celebration begins in St. Maarten Festival Center with the annual opening Unity Jump Up, which “showcases the harmony between the French and Dutch side of the island with everyone joining in and dancing behind the bands playing the most recent calypsonian songs.” Events include the Junior Queen Pageant, Roadmarch, and Calypso Competitions (April 18); the Senior Road March Competition/Band-O-Rama (April 20). Other events are the District Queen Pageant, the Youth Extravaganza (April 23), the Junior Queen Show, and the Junior Parade (April 25), where the children celebrate by marching through the streets dressed in colorful costumes.

“Calypsonians” compete for the title of King and Queen in the Senior Calypso Finals (April 27), followed by the Jouvert Jump (April 28), which starts at 4 am. There are also cultural performances by local artists and seven international concerts. Anguilla News reports that Reggae Night (April 28) will feature performances by Beenie Man, Jah Cure, and Busy Signal, and Latin Night (May 1) includes Luis Miguel and Bachata & Miguelito, followed by the road marches.   

Carnival culminates with the Grand Carnival Parade (April 29) and Second Day Parade (April 30) where the festival comes to life with music, dances, and masqueraders in vibrant costumes that depict local heritage. The burning of King Momo, a straw figure who embodies the spirit of carnival, ends the festivities.

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