Where: – George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.
When: – Ten days in November; 6th to 16th November 2014.
For ten days in November, the beautiful ‘Cayman Islands’ get converted into the forte of the notorious pirates who were prevalent once upon a time in this part of the world! The ten days of pirate invasion on these serene islands marks the celebration of the Island’s biggest annual fun festival known as the ‘Pirates Week Festival’! For the ten days, the revelers get soaked into various parties, colorful parades, music concerts, dances, costumes & the best of all- the ‘mock pirate invasion’.
The ‘Pirates week festival’ is the ‘National festival’ of the ‘Cayman Islands’ & is celebrated across all the islands by organizing various parties & events. During the ‘Pirates Week’, districts of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac & Little Cayman host ‘Heritage Day’, which highlights the features of every district’s diverse & vibrant culture. The festival has become the largest street festival in the ‘Cayman Islands’ & draws nearly 35,000 revelers from all round the world. This extravagant fete has become the national heritage & has played a remarkable role in developing the tourism on the Islands!
WHY THEY CELERATE?
The festival of the ‘Pirates Week’ was conceived in 1977 in order to boost the tourism in the country, especially during the ‘off-season’. Jim Bodden, then Minister of Tourism, is credited to be the man behind the conceptualization as well as its manifestation. Since its conception, the festival has grown in all aspects & eventually, it became the major event not only in the ‘Cayman Islands’ but also in the entire Caribbean.
However, in 2009, a campaign was initiated to dissolve the ‘Pirates Week’ celebration since the promoters of the ‘anti-pirates week’ campaign believed that the festival was promoting piracy. The campaign has now dissolved & the celebration has resumed with the same zeal & enthusiasm!
HOW THEY CELEBRATE?
The celebration of this grand festival follows the footsteps of a typical ‘Caribbean-style’ revelry. Music, food, dance & parades are the inseparable parts of this ten-day long extravaganza. However, the unique event called ‘Pirates invasion’ is something that makes this vibrant festival standalone than the remaining Caribbean street festivals.
The fantastic competition of the steel bands followed by a party ‘kick-offs’ the festival. The spectacular display of fireworks lights up the night sky & the crowning of the ‘Festival Queen’ takes place. The crowning ceremony is then followed by the opening street dance & a ‘Food Festival’ making the island the most happening places in the entire Caribbean.
The mock ‘Pirate Invasion’ event that takes place on the next day is the highlight of the entire festivity. Two 17th century-classical galleons, loaded with ‘ruthless’ pirates make ‘surprise’ attack on the ‘George Town harbor’ & eventually captures the ‘Governor’ after battling out the defending legions. Thousands of spectators get entertained by the sight of fun-filled invasion by the pirates followed by their joyous battle with the town force. Every year, the invasion takes place with an element of surprise & a twist in the tale which keep the spectator on their toes as they eagerly wait for the surprise to get revealed!
Soon after the raid, the festival starts coming into its true colors as the celebration begins with the stupendous display of the fireworks. Several events take place during the entire week, including vibrant float parades, costume contests, music & street dancing competitions & ‘Heritage Days’ which fills the atmosphere of the ‘Cayman Islands’ with the ultimate joy & playful celebration. The ‘Trial of the Pirates’, the ‘Cardboard Boat Racing’ & the street party are some of the best loved events in the ‘Pirates Week’ celebration.
The ‘Pirates Week’ festival, now includes nearly 32 different events comprising of two swim meets, a steel band competition, a dart competition, kids fun day, a couple of teen music nights, two running races & an underwater treasure hunt.
The ‘Pirates Week Festival’, thus exhibits one of the finest demonstrations of the street festivals in the world that gives nothing but the sheer joy to all the participants. This festival is truly one of its kind & is worth participating at least once in a lifetime!!