Carriacou (pronounced: Carry-a-koo), is the 2nd largest of the 3 island state of Grenada which includes Petite Martinique. It’s located north of Grenada in the Caribbean. It’s an English speaking island with a rich cultural heritage.
The original Amerindians inhabited the island before the Europeans, namely the British and French who colonized the island during slavery in the 1700’s. The name Carriacou is taken from the Amerindian name for the island “Kayryouacou” which means island of reefs. Carriacou is known for its boat-building brought to the island by the Scottish and the island continues to uphold that tradition. Carriacou natives are affectionately known as “kayaks.”
During the 1960’s many native Carriacouans came over to the UK to work for a better life for themselves and their families.
How to get there?
You can get to Carriacou via Grenada. There are flights to and from Grenada to Carriacou on a regular basis. There is also a regular boat service if you prefer not to fly.
Carriacou has many cultural festivals throughout the year.
CARNIVAL: Carnival takes place annually in Carriacou’s town centre Hillsborough. It’s a fantastic event attended by the locals and tourists from around the globe. You see some amazing costumes and dance troops parading up and down the town. There are also some fantastic street stalls selling traditional Carriacouan food. An interesting part of carnival that is unique to Carriacou is the Shakespeare Mas.’ It’s where the locals engage in a battle of wits reciting Shakespeare. It’s always a fun and exciting spectacle at Carnival time. (See video below for Carriacou Carnival & Shakespeare Mas 2013).
BIG DRUM DANCING: This dance festival takes place at various types of celebrations such as weddings, christenings, stone feasts (the erection of a tombstone) and reunions.
CARRIACOU MAROON & STRING BAND FESTIVAL: This festival originated from Africa whereby the local community celebrate unity, life, God and prosperity through drumming, dance and eating ‘smoke food.’ (See video below).
PARANG FESTIVAL: This is a Christmas event which incorporates music, singing, dance and food to celebrate Christ.
REGATTA FESTIVAL: This is an International Summer festival whereby yachtsmen and women race their boats. It’s a colourful and exciting event for holiday-makers and locals alike.
TOMBSTONE FEAST: This is a private feast hosted by families in Carriacou. Deceased relatives tombstones are erected with a celebration of food, drink and music.
ALL SAINTS (Early November): Carriacou locals pay tribute to their ancestors by visiting their graves, sharing rum and water on the gravestones and with each other. Eating, drinking and story-telling with each other are all part of this tradition.