Festival Day in Montserrat

In Montserrat, December 31st is a special time of the year. It’s not only New Year’s Eve, but it’s also an official public holiday known as Festival Day. This holiday is the climax of Montserrat’s carnival season—an event that runs from mid-December to New Year’s Day. During this carnival season, there is a wide range of events, including street parties, calypso competitions, dances, and parades.

This makes the holiday, as well as the entire carnival season, a popular time of the year for tourists to visit the island. It’s a day that combines the carnival season, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day into one long festive event that people can’t resist.

The History of Festival Day

Montserrat’s Annual Festival has been celebrated on the island since 1962 and has continued ever since. The only exception was in 2020 when COVID-19 limited the festival to a virtual event only. As of the writing of this holiday article, it was unclear if the 2021 celebrations would be affected in the same way.

Fun Facts About Montserrat

Let’s take a quick look at some fun facts about Montserrat before we move on and discuss how Festival Day is celebrated. We’ve listed the facts we’ve uncovered during our research below.

  • Montserrat was first inhabited in 500 BCE by the Tainos.
  • In 1995, the Soufrière Hills Volcano erupted for the first time in almost 400 years.
  • Montserrat is one of 14 United Kingdom Overseas Territories governed by a Premier and Parliament that’s elected locally.

Observing Festival Day

To encapsulate everything that happens on Festival Day during the Carnival Season is almost impossible because the whole island is hopping with a wide variety of events.

However, we can sum up the activities that are done on this holiday by saying it’s a party atmosphere that’s full of dancing, partying, cooking, street festivals, concerts, calypso competitions, and even fireworks at the end of it all.

Where is it celebrated?
Montserrat (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
December 31 Tuesday
Next year (2025)
December 31 Wednesday
Last year (2023)
December 31 Sunday