The Guadeloupe Carnival is one of the most important festivities in the Antilles. Each year, it takes place during two months in early winter and ends the day after Shrove Tuesday. Originally imported by European settlers, the carnival tradition has gradually permeated Caribbean culture.
Today, many events are part of the festival: song and dance contest, election of the queen and costumed parades. Although all municipalities are involved, it is mainly in Basse-Terre that the most important events take place. It is here that the opening parade is held in January, as well as the grand parade, the Sunday before Shrove Tuesday. Throughout the day, costumed dancers and musicians followed by a joyous crowd line the streets to the beat of the drums.
The last day, Ash Wednesday, is marked by the burning of King Vaval, the symbolic figure of the carnival.