One of the most important festivals in the West Indies is the carnival of Guadeloupe which takes place for about two weeks and can go up to 4 weeks; but the most important days go from Fat Sunday to the day after Fat Tuesday, or Ash Wednesday. With European origins, this festival has taken place more and more in the West Indian culture and has settled. During this period, there are several events that take place like singing and dancing competitions, costume parades and of course the election of the queen. The most important events take place in Basse-Terre where the public accompanies the musicians, dancers and participants costumed through the streets of the city with the rhythm of the drums. The iconic Carnival character, King Vaval (abreviation of Carnival in Creole), is cremated on Ash Wednesday, ending the festivity and the crowd dresses in black and white for the occasion.
If you visit Basse-Terre during a ship stop before the carnival, you can usually see some participants who practice for carnival parade during the day in the city center (especially on weekends). This is a good opportunity to know a little about this festivity.
Two or three weeks before the big festivity, you can also attend group parades on Sunday from 17:00.