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It happens every time during your Caribbean sailing charter. You are relaxing onboard in a peaceful, idyllic anchorage – the crystal clear turquoise water gently lapping against the hull- when suddenly, the warm tropical breezes lure you ashore like a siren song with the sound of a party! Every year, the Caribbean plays host to hundreds of different parties ranging from religious celebrations, music festivals, fishing tournaments, sporting competitions to sailing regattas. No matter where you go, a party in paradise can almost always be a part of your Caribbean sailing vacation. The greatest party, however, is the annual Carnival celebration. Basically a street party, it is a fun mixture of party, theater, art and folklore tradition. For each island, the annual Carnival is big business, and preparations for the next one begin almost the day after the last one ends.

The history of Carnival celebrations began hundreds of years ago in Italy where Catholics held wild costume festivals right before Lent. Since they were not supposed to eat meat during Lent, the festival got the name, “Carnevale”, which means “to put away meat.” The famous Carnival celebrations eventually spread to other Catholic countries, including France, Spain and Portugal. As Catholic Europeans set up colonies and entered the slave trade, Carnival took root in the New World as well.

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