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Every year in April, St. Maarten combines music, dancing in the
streets, fun and pageantry for the island’s Carnival festival. The
hottest events on the island’s calendar include Jump-Up Parades,
calypso competitions, beauty pageants and the annual Jouvert
St. Maarten’s two-week Carnival encompasses the island’s unique
cultural traditions and allows visitors and residents alike to
parade alongside costumed revelers. The celebration begins on April
17 with thousands in the streets for the Carnival Village Jump-Up
and the opening of the Carnival Village gates, signifying the start
of the party.
Events continue with the annual Children’s Parade, slated to
take place on April 20. This special costumed procession showcases
the children of St. Maarten and represents the Carnival preserving
the island’s culture and tradition by passing from one generation
to the next.
On April 26, residents and visitors celebrate the Jouvert, which
comes from the French saying “jour ouvert” or morning open. In St.
Maarten the Jouvert is centered on the Great Salt Pond, and is the
largest of the street parties. Here, by the shores of this unique
St. Maarten landmark, revelers celebrate throughout the night
wearing personal costumes and creative dress.
On April 29, the Grand Carnival Parade showcases the creativity
of costume design and dance from local and international
participants. Carnival's Grand Parade’s uniqueness stems from its
celebration of the traditions of many countries and cultures around
the world. Spectacular floats with performers showcase lavish and
varied costumes. Numerous troupes line the streets, each with up to
300 members dancing in creative carnival costumes, while local
musical artists perform soca and calypso music.
The Closing Jump Up or Last Lap marks the official closing of
the Carnival. This is the last chance for all spectators to show
off their costumes as they dance their way to the Carnival Village.
Musicians also compete for the prize of Carnival Band of the