Carnival Day in Saint Kitts and Nevis

Carnival Day is a holiday observed annually on January 2nd in Saint Kitts and Nevis, also known as Sugar Mas. The carnival associated with this holiday is considered by many to be the best island carnival in the world, and many people book their holidays to coincide with this event.

This carnival is a creative blend of African heritage, Caribbean culture, and Christmas traditions that lasts for a period of 6 weeks—with its culmination on January 2nd. It’s a time to enjoy street dancing, exotic foods, parades, and folklore, and it’s a celebration that’s not to be missed.

The History of Carnival Day

Carnival Day began in 1957 by Mr. Basil Henderson. Although he faced a lot of resistance to the festival from the church at the time, community members helped him organize the event.

By the 1960s, the carnival had grown to not only feature a street parade but also a calypso show and steelpan musical performers. It has been a regular 6-week holiday ever since in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Facts About Saint Kitts and Nevis

We’ve done the research, and now we’re in possession of some fun facts about Saint Kitts and Nevis that we will share with everyone.

  • Saint Kitts was the first British colony in the Caribbean.
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis gained independence from Britain in 1983.
  • The islands are known for a stew made from the meat and neck bones of goats, called Goat Water.

Observing Carnival Day

Carnival Day begins 6 weeks before January 2nd and usually starts on a Friday. The carnival kicks off with a female calypso show before moving on to other celebrations. Throughout the festival, people can enjoy street food, watch dancers perform traditional dances, and partake in numerous cultural events. Parade Day is the largest of the celebrations during this time and falls on New Year’s Day—the day before Carnival Day.

Where is it celebrated?
Saint Kitts and Nevis (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
January 2 Tuesday
Next year (2025)
January 2 Thursday
Last year (2023)
January 2 Monday