The Best of Local Events, Carnivals & Festivals
The Cayman Islands observes 10 holidays annually. Please note that most stores are closed on those days so please plan ahead for items needed while on your Cayman family vacation. The holiday dates are as follows:
|New Year’s Day||January 1|
|National Heroes’ Day||Observed 4th Monday in January|
|Ash Wednesday||Observed approx. 6-1/2 weeks before Easter|
|Good Friday||Observed on the Friday before Easter|
|Easter Monday||Observed on the Monday following Easter|
|Discovery Day||Observed on the third Monday in May|
|Queen’s Birthday||Observed on Monday, mid-June|
|Constitution Day||Observed on the first Monday in July|
|Remembrance Day||Observed on Monday, mid-November|
|Christmas Day||December 25|
|Boxing Day||December 26|
While staying in our Cayman Islands condos, you may experience one of the island’s popular annual events:
Visitors in late April will witness our Batabano festival when Spring is ushered in with a colorful parade of costumes, music and dancing. You can join the costume street parade where local groups and schools have let their imaginations go wild. Usually designed with a tropical theme, the bands range from dancing flowers to swimming stingrays. Local bands playing island music fill the streets and dance groups and school children move and groove. You’ll find it hard not to join in the fun!
Batabano is Cayman’s carnival and, appropriately, the name has a distinctly local flavor. Cayman of yesteryear was a turtling island: the waters surrounding the islands were full of turtles, which provided meat for food and shells for decoration or functional uses. “Batabano” is the word given to the tracks left by turtles when they drag themselves onto the beach to nest in the sand.
The heart and soul of Batabano is the Mas’ (Masquerading) Bands who get the opportunity to express creativity, imagination and talent, sometimes through the interpretation of a social issue.
While many of the costumes have been traditionally inspired by Cayman’s magnificent marine environment with interpretations ranging from the regal mantra rays to the anemones, designers have begun to utilize their costumes to comment on social issues both locally and worldwide. Depictions in the past have covered the millennium bug, the world’s refugee crisis, and drug abuse.
The annual Pirates Week festival is held during the last week of October, and kicks off the winter tourist season. The Cayman Islands have a colorful seafaring past which is celebrated with pride during this national event. You should come prepared for days and nights of pirate parades, costume contests, music, fireworks, sports competitions and craft fairs. Don’t miss the week’s kick-off – a mock pirate landing by bands of rowdy pirates who arrest the Governor in George Town Harbour, followed by a float parade of colorful costumes and local steel drum bands. In the evening the roads are closed in George Town as the whole Island parties the night away, dancing under the stars to local and guest bands and enjoying the local food on offer.
Each day during the week the districts of West Bay, Bodden Town, East End, Northside, and George Town take turns to host a district heritage day, with local skills and crafts on show as well as a plentiful feast and an evening of live music
Taste of Cayman
This annual event take place over the July bank holiday weekend in Grand Cayman and brings together over 50 of the most popular restaurants on the Island to let locals and visitors have a real ‘Taste of Cayman’. Saturday evening sees this gourmet fund raising event take off with samples of every type of cuisine you can imagine. There is live music throughout the evening and children’s entertainment, including face painting, pony rides and dance competitions.
This event is followed by a ‘Chili Cook Off’ on the bank holiday Monday, where as many teams as possible are recruited to try and produce the best Chili – everyone is invited to join in both the cooking and the tasting! The winning team gets the chance to fly to Reno, Nevada to compete in the ‘World Chili Cook Off’ (where first prize is $50,000 bucks!!!)
There are also fantastic prizes for best booth costumes as judged by the amazing crowd (so make sure all your friends come along too!)
Rules-Schmules: there are so few you don’t even need to know them until the cook-off. Marginal entry fee is a nominal $75 per team (after all, the proceeds do go to a local charity.)