St. Maarten sizzles with multi-cultural Carnival
St. Maarten (Sonique Solutions) – Known by
many as the best Carnival experience in the North Eastern Caribbean, the 2012
festival season on the Dutch side of St. Maarten proved to be a pleasant
collision of cultures. This year’s edition offered nothing short of vibrant, colourful
parades, the very best of local cultural shows and pageants, highly entertaining
international concerts and a perfect opportunity for locals and foreigners to
mix with each other and explore new cultures.
This annual occurrence has been the island’s largest cultural event for the past 42 years and is organized by the St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF).
The Divi Little Bay Resort and surrounding
Phillipsburg accommodations served the as relaxation points for many of the
festival’s newbie aficionados as well as seasoned Carnival connoisseurs.
However, all observers and participants alike converged day and night in the
main centre of action also known as the “Carnival Village” for a one of a kind
The St. Maarten
Carnival Village, which is transformed into the region's largest restaurant, features
booths with samplings of cuisine from each of the near 80 nationalities that
call St. Maarten home and is also the literal hotspot for all the
major concerts and pageants. Over this year’s 2 week Carnival period, visitors to
the village enjoyed several forms of entertainment which included Calypso
Competitions, Youth and Teen Extravaganzas, Speech and Culture Wear Competitions,
a Ms. Mature Queen Pageant and world class concerts which showcased top Soca,
Latin and Zouk performers.
Much like several other regional Carnival
celebrations, the Jouvert revelry set the pace and built excitement for the main
costumed parades. However, it must be noted than unlike some regional and
international Carnivals, St. Maarten’s parade had a smooth flow of mas bands (before
and after judging points) and each mas band boasted music trucks with full live
brass bands which performed a variety of genres.
Also, it is evident that a high level of
order was present as even though the costumed bands were not roped off from the
public, non-masqueraders chose to remain on the sidelines as opposed to
invading the ‘costumed zones’. Additionally, every band had a choreographed routine which they executed
seamlessly at each judging point.
The End of St. Maarten’s Carnival is marked with the symbolic burning of King Moumou, a straw-stuffed effigy who annually presides over the whole festive affair.