The History of Cayman Carnival Batabano
Launched in 1983 by the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman and now in its 32nd. year,Cayman Carnival Batabano – the island’s national carnival – is held annually during the first week of May – a vibrant highlight in the island’s entertainment calendar, organized by a volunteer committee chaired for past 15 years by well-known local impresario Donna Myrie-Stephen. The carnival has grown by leaps and bounds since it’s inception, and now also includes a Junior carnival.
The festival’s original name, Batabano, is a salute to Cayman’s turtling heritage – the word “Batabano ” refers to the tracks left in the sand by sea turtles as they crawl onto the beach to nest. Finding these tracks was – and still is – a reason to celebrate!
Cable & Wireless Presenting Sponsor 15 Years
Pageantry of Batabano
Carnival itself is joyous, cultural celebration throughout the Caribbean – a kaleidoscope of music, dance and pageantry, rooted in the region’s diverse historical influences. Colourful costumes reflect the vibrant landscapes, heritage and culture, with the music the very rhythm of island life. Carnival in the Cayman Islands has a distinct flavour as the islands are home to a melting pot of over 100 nationalities – one country celebrating many cultures!
The energy of Cayman Carnival Batabano is electrifying, with thousands of locals and visitors flocking to the streets to enjoy the signature,spirited parade, a creative panoply of costumes, choreography and floats that becomes more elaborate each year.
It is a time to celebrate local surroundings, to showcase creativity, to voice social issues and, of course, to party and unite – and there’s nothing like a great party to bring people together!
About Junior Carnival
Cayman Carnival Junior Batabano is a family-friendly festival for the islands’ youth. Introduced in 2002, this colorful cultural showcase marks its 14th. anniversary this year! Junior Carnival has grown from a small program that preceded the adult parade to its very own one-day event.
Held in the capital, George Town, Junior Batabano features children frolicking in a lively cavalcade of color, music and creativity before parading for the pageant judges, who have the unenviable task of selecting the best Junior band. Afterwards, the fun continues with face painting, mask decorating and food stalls presented by school PTAs.
The goal of Junior Carnival Batabano is to promote Cayman’s unique culture and to create a safe, fun-filled, family oriented experience.
In response to the growing interest of local schools for student participation in the street parade, the committee introduced “Junior Batabano” in 2002 as part of the overall one -day street parade. However, the continued growth and development of the Junior Parade prompted the committee in 2005 to launch a stand alone street parade for Cayman’s youth called “Junior Carnival Batabano”, which usually takes place on the weekend before the adult parade. Junior Batabano creates a safe environment for children to play “mas”.