Anguilla’s Carnival: August Monday
Anyone who knows Anguilla knows this… Anguilla is the go-to island for beaches, peace and quiet. It really is "tranquility wrapped in blue."
So, anyone who knows Anguilla, but hasn't heard of Anguilla Carnival, would likely be surprised to know that Anguilla is home to one of THE biggest beach parties in the entire Caribbean.
Did you see that coming? 😉
Calm 364 days/year, Anguilla more than makes up for its still nature on "August Monday," the first Monday in August. Held on the beach in Sandy Ground Village, the bay ("Road Bay") plays host to hundreds of people and boats from not just Anguilla, but from around the Caribbean. Docked side by side in Road Bay, lining the length of the white-sand beach, visiting and local boats run 2, 3 or even 4 rows deep. If you're the first in, you're surely the last out!
What are they here for?
The festivities on the beach.
Throughout August Monday, bands take to the stands keeping people rocking and moving. If you're not dancing, you're likely taking your bikini-clad body down the beach for a stroll, stopping at a BBQ stand for hot ribs and chicken along the way. Dancing, walking, people-watching, chatting, cooling off in the sea, the party heats up as the sun sets. The BBQ smoke fills the air, rum punch flows and music continues well into the night.
Why the partying?
It all has to do with Anguilla's national sport, sailing. August Monday centers on a boatrace, one of the most highly anticipated boatraces of the year. On August Monday, the sailboats sail around the whole island. Locals who are passionate about sailing skip the August Monday afternoon party to follow the sailboats by land in their cars, or by sea in their boats. The excitement builds as the boats return to shore. Often, winning boats are within hairs of each other!
Not only a nail-biting experience, this boatrace is especially significant because it qualifies sailboats for boatraces held later on in the Carnival season. The final boatrace of Carnival names THE champion of the year.
The "August Monday" beach party and boatrace is just one aspect of Anguilla's Carnival. Carnival generally spans a couple of weeks, usually beginning at the end of July and ending on the second Sunday in August (depending on the calendar that year). With pageants, including the Miss Anguilla Pageant, parades with colorful and intricate costumes, such as the Grand Parade of Troupes, and exciting boatraces, including THE Champion of Champions boatrace held on the very last day of Carnival, it's a unique time of year in Anguilla, one when Anguillians return home from far and wide. Carnival truly unites.