18-19 February 2015
 Gustavia, St. Barts: Vaval’s Last Night

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Saint Barts lies immediately southeast of Saint Martin and Anguilla, northeast of Saba and St Eustatius, and north of St. Kitts.

It is quite small, only 8 square miles or 21 square kilometers, with 8,500 inhabitants.

In 2007, St. Barts broke their ties with Guadeloupe and formed a separate overseas collectivity of France.

Now, they do not need much excuse for a party on Saint Barts.

Carnaval begins on Sunday, February 15 and ends on Ash Wednesday, February 18.

Silver Cloud came over from St. Maarten in late afternoon, just in time for the very end of the Carnival in St. Barts.

A small but very loud and boisterous parade winds through the streets to Shell Beach, culminating with the ceremonial burning of a straw statue of Vaval, the King of Carnaval.

Téwé Vaval, held on Ash Wednesday, is meant to symbolically bury or burn the spirit of Carnival. The burning of Vaval dates from early Christian Europe.

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Vaval is made ready for his big (and last) moment in town.

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With the end of Carnival come the start of Lent, which does not seem much observed in St. Barts.

And then there is drinking and eating and drinking and more drinking, with live music.

I wrote more about the history of St. Barts when we visited a few weeks ago. You can read that at: http://blog.sandlerbooks.com/?p=2718

All photos copyright Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.


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