After a 3 year hiatus, the island of Grenada is preparing to welcome back its Spicemas celebration.
The Caribbean’s summer Carnival season is upon us, and the island of Grenada is preparing to welcome back its Spicemas celebration after a nearly 3-year hiatus. While this colorful event has events that run across several weeks during the summer, the main festivities will take place August 8 and 9.
Spicemas aka August Mas is an explosive celebration of the island’s rich African, Caribbean, British and French Heritage. During that time, Grenada aka The Spice Isle— due to its production of some of the world’s best nutmeg— will crown a new Carnival queen, host a series of energetic Calypso and Soca competitions, and of course there will be plenty of parades with colorful costumes and dancing in the streets until dawn.
“We are thrilled by the return of Spicemas this summer,” Petra Roach, CEO of the Grenada Tourism Authority, said in a statement. “It is undoubtedly a highlight of the year for locals and visitors alike, showcasing the best entertainment and culture that Grenada has to offer. We look forward to welcoming revelers who return year after year and first timers for this unique and all-immersive event.”
On Monday, August 8, visitors and locals will take to the streets in the early morning hours— while covered in everything from paint and molasses to tar and even chocolate— for the official J’ouvert parade. The morning celebration is a way to honor the ancestors through song, dance, and chants as loud drums are played in accompaniment. That afternoon, local bands will gear up for the Monday Night Mas that goes until dawn.
“Coming out of a successful Spicemas 2019, and a two-year hiatus, we are beaming with excitement to put on Spicemas this year and welcome our visitors and returning nationals to ‘Spicemas 2022 D Return’,” Kelvin Jacob, CEO of the Spicemas Corporation, said. “We have worked hard and made fundamental changes to enhance the product and make it one second to none.”
The events wrap up on Tuesday (August 9) with the Last Lap aka the parade of bands. Bands from all the island’s parishes will gather while dawning bright costumes as they entertain onlookers with the sounds of steel drums, Calypso music and popular Carnival songs.
If you’re heading to the ‘Spice Island’ for Spicemas, or you have plans to visit soon, here are a few things to check out while on the island.
- Snorkel or dive the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park: One of the island’s most popular attractions is its underwater sculpture park, featuring nearly 75 sculptures below the ocean’s surface. Located in Molinere Beauséjour Marine Protected Area, the human replicas are said to be a tribute to enslaved men and women who once inhabited the area. A highlight is the Vicissitudes sculpture, which depicts a group of children holding hands in a circle. The entire sculpture park is said to be the first of its kind, although others have now been formed in other parts of the world.
- Take a dip in Grand Anse Beach: Easily the area’s most popular beach, here you will find plenty of water sports, local vendors, dining as well as hotels. Known for its powdery white sands, Grand Anse Beach stretches 2-miles long across Grenada’s southwest cost.
- “Dance the Cocoa” at the Belmont Estate: Although once a cocoa plantation, this property has now been converted to give visitors an up-close look into how the island traditionally produced chocolate. About an hour's drive from the town of St. Georges, here you can take a tour and take part in the ‘dance the cocoa’ ritual, which involves polishing cocoa beans with your bare feet.
- Indulge in the island’s national dish: Oildown is a traditional stew-like meal that is usually made during holidays and celebrations, so you can guarantee it will be in abundance during Spicemas. The dish is typically made of coconut milk, breadfruit, turmeric, callaloo and of course local spices. Many places will also add meat or seafood to the pot as well.
- Go chasing waterfalls: There are over 15 waterfalls on the island, and many are accessible via a short hike or scenic walk. The most popular falls are Annandale, which towers at around 30-feet. You are able to safely swim in the falls, and you’ll want to leave some time to explore the surrounding gardens. Don’t forget your camera.