Batabano – Cayman’s National Carnival

Events |
Cayman Carnival

Batabano

On the first Saturday in May each year, Grand Cayman erupts in a frenzy of vibrant color, music and dancing. Each year, over 2,000 men, women and children dress up in extravagant costumes with feather headdresses, sequins, sparkles and many glittery accessories to “jump” to the beats of festive music. Welcome to Batabano!

The name “Batabano” (pronounced bah-tah-BAH-new) is a salute to Cayman’s turtling heritage and refers to the tracks left in the sand by Sea Turtles.   Our national carnival, Batabano was started 35 years ago by the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman focuses on music, dance and pageantry while celebrating the diverse culture and heritage of the Cayman Islands.

The highlight is an all day parade that starts in West Bay, winds its way along down the road parallel to Seven Mile Beach, and ends at the harbor in George Town, our nation’s Capital.  During the parade a series of masquerade bands (“mas bands”), each with their own theme and costume, “jump” or dance down the street to lively music.

 

Even kids get to join in the fun. The week before, on the last Saturday in April, Cayman hosts Junior Batabano, where little ones get the chance to dress up and dance in their own mini parade before enjoying family friendly festivities like face painting and costume contests.

Every parade is a wonderfully varied mix of young and old, locals, tourists, expats and more. Batabano is without a doubt the most exciting and spirited day of the year in Cayman, whether you are a spectator or you choose to join a mas band and participate. Come experience if for yourself!

To learn more about what happened during this year’s festivities click here.

Photos courtesy of our friend Carlo Lee at Live.