There are a number of annual festivals that take place in Jamaica. If you are interested in any of these, knowing when they occur may help you decide when to take your vacation.
The Annual Jamaica Ocho Rios International Jazz Festival: This year this jazz festival will be held in June and will celebrate 17 years of consistent artistic success, presenting the best of Jamaican musical talent and some of the most famous names in International Jazz. The past ten years have seen an emergence of a variety of ‘Jazz Festivals’, at home and abroad, and many other Caribbean festivals have adopted the innovative features first introduced by the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival. This festival is eagerly anticipated by both locals and tourists alike.
Annual Jamaica Spice Festival: In July, the Jamaica Tourist Board will again celebrate Jamaican cuisine with its premier food festival, Jamaica Spice, a one-day celebration showcasing all that Jamaica has to offer local and international Epicureans. The main highlights of Jamaica Spice will be the exhibition of traditional gourmet, processed foods, and delights that originate in Jamaica and are produced locally. Close to fifty exhibitors are expected to showcase their products including coffee, chutneys, meats, juices, rums & liqueurs, arts & crafts, fruits and candy.
Lively cooking demonstrations will be conducted throughout the day by exhibitors, restaurateurs and local media personalities. There will be displays of contemporary Jamaican food products prepared by culinary experts who will be available for sale and public sampling. Food lovers look forward to this festival with great anticipation. If you intend to go to this and intend to bring some local flavor home, check what youíre allowed to bring through customs on your return before you go shopping at the festival!
Accompong Maroon Festival: This unusual festival is celebrated by the Maroons, who are the descendants of the slaves brought to Jamaica to work on the sugar plantations. Part of the festival involves a pig roast, in which black, male pigs are cooked in large pots. The whole community, including visitors, then eats the results ñ and, according to tradition, eating a mouthful of the succulent pork will bring you luck. This festival is held in January.
Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival: For ten years, the national airline has been sponsoring a lively musical event, featuring artists from all around the world, as well as popular Jamaican performers. Reggae is an important feature of the program, but there is also plenty of opportunity to listen to jazz and other types of music. This festival is held at Montego Bay in the month of January.
The Jamaican tourist board will be able to tell you the exact dates of these and other festivals that will be held in Jamaica throughout the year.