Every 31 December in Montserrat is Festival Day as well as New Year’s Eve. Festival Day is an official public holiday here, and most businesses close down for the day. Most people get off work and out of school so they can have more time to celebrate.
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Montserrat’s carnival season, called “Our Carnival”, runs from the middle of December until New Year’s Day. During Carnival season, the atmosphere is electric, and the whole island is abuzz with excitement. This makes Montserrat a popular destination for vacationers from the UK, US, other Caribbean nations, and beyond. The ferry rides to Montserrat are busy and full this time of year. For the locals of Montserrat, Carnival celebrations are looked forward to all year round. And it’s also a time off work and school for many, giving families time to spend at the beach together, out on the town, or just at home.
During Carnival, there are numerous parades, dances, a carnival queen contest, calypso competitions, public concerts, street parties, and a host of other events. It’s a very tumultuous time of year, and Festival Day is really just the climax of this whole time period.
And on the tail-end of Carnival, New Year’s Eve fireworks displays burst forth on Festival Day, reminding everyone that it is a double-holiday, after all. People stay up all night partying, and the next day, they watch the much anticipated Montserrat New Year’s Day parade. Thus, Festival Day stands at the juncture of two major holiday seasons and of two years.
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