Culture is often literally celebrated by the Cape Verdeans. From dance, music, food and drinks to world-famous festivals. Parties of different kinds and sizes from an important part of life on Cape Verde. These often take place on holidays. The most famous festival is the carnival in February or March of each year that resembles strongly the celebrations in Brazil.
For your visit to Cape Verde, we have made a list a few annual recurring holidays and events for you. Useful when planning your visit to the Cape Verde islands, so you do not have to miss anything.
Creole Carnival – Sao Vicente / Sao Nicolau (February)
The most important party of the year is carnival. Three days before Ash Wednesday, it is carnival. The carnival festivals at Sao Vicente and Sao Nicolau are accompanied by large parade cars, exuberant outfits, a lot of color, dance and a lot of music. It belongs to the best carnival celebrations in the world. The biggest street parade can be found in Mindelo (Sao Vicente) and starts in the morning. This is a party not to be missed.
Gamboa – Santiago (May)
Three nights / nights long on May 17-19, music groups take place in the San Francisco Bay of Praia (Santiago). It is one of the largest festivals of the Cape Verde islands and attracts over 40,000 festival goers per night. The best-known artists from Cape Verde perform with guest musicians from Brazil and Africa. At this grand festival, the audience is entertained with delicious salsa, latino, zouk, reggea and funana music.
Tabanca – Santiago (June)
During the Tabanca feast the freedom of the slaves is celebrated. A festival that is about faith, having fun, music, food & drinks. The festivities last several days.
Baia das Gates Music Festival – Sao Vicente (August)
In the first weekend of August, tens of thousands of people meet for the Baia das Gates festival at Sao Vicente. It is one of the largest outdoor music festivals in West Africa. The festival is held at and near the beautiful beach. So next to party celebrations you can also relax. Artists from Cape Verde, Africa, Europe and South America are good for a good variety of types of music. This festival has a great casual atmosphere and is an absolute must to visit.
Santa Maria Music Festival – Sal (September)
Do you like to enjoy live shows on the beach? And dancings and some snacks and drinks? At the Santa Maria music festival international artists perform and play different styles of music. Many Cape Verdeans and tourists come to this festival that will be held in September on Sal.
Annual holidays and events in Cape Verde
Cape Verde is always festive. The events, festivals and holidays are as lively as the population. And as diverse as the islands themselves. Below we have listed the most important holidays and events for you.
Holidays and events in Cape Verde in January:
- 1 January – All islands Cape Verde: New Year (National holiday)
- January 6 – Various islands: Epiphany
- January 13 – All islands Cape Verde: Day of Democracy (National holiday)
- January 15 – Santiago: Santo Amro greets to the inhabitants of Tarrafal during a parade
- January 17th – Santo Antao: Municipal festival in Ribeira Grande
- January 20 – All islands of Cape Verde: National Day of heroes
- January 22 – Sao Vicente: city festivities of the town of Mindelo
Holiday and events in Cape Verde in February:
- In the week of Ash Wednesday – Various islands: Carnival (National holiday)
Holidays and events in Cape Verde in March:
- March 19th – Sal: Sao Jose in Palmeira
- March 30 – All islands of Cape Verde: Cape Verde women’s day
Holidays and events in Cape Verde in April:
- April 13th – Sao Nicolau: Santo Antonio in Prequica
- April 30th – Fogo: flag ceremony in Sao Filipe to celebrate the discovery of Fogo in 1460
- April – Sao Nicolau: Pascoal, an Easter festival in Faja
Holidays and events in Cape Verde in May:
- May 1 – All islands Cape Verde: Labor Day (National day)
- May 1 – Fogo: Nho in Sao Filipe
- May 3 – All islands Cape Verde: Santa Cruz (Liberation of the Slaves)
- May 4th – Boavista: Pidrona in Rabil
- May 8 – Boavista: Sao Rogue in Povoacao Velha (southwest of Boavista)
- May 13 – Santiago: Nossa Senhora da Fatima in Assomada
- May 13 – Santo Antao: Local festival in Ribeira do Paul
- 17 to 19 May – Santiago: Gamboa festival at the beach of Praia
- Last weekend of May – Boavista: Cruz Nho Lolo in the village of Estancia Baixo
- May – Sao Nicolau: Nossa Senhora do Monte in the town of Cachago
Holidays and events in Cape Verde in June:
- June 1 – All islands Cape Verde: Children’s Day (National holiday)
- June 13 – Various islands: Santo Antonio; beginning of the festivals leading to the main festival of Sao Joao (celebration of John the Baptist)
- June 3 – Santo Antao: Local festival in Paul
- June 13 – Sao Vicente: Local festival in Santo Antonio
- June 14 – Santo Antao: Local festival in Porto Novo
- June 24 – All islands Cape Verde: Sao Joao party
- June 25 – Santiago: The celebration of Santiago is celebrated in the places of Santa Cruz and Pedra Badejo
- June 29 – Various islands: Sao Pedro
- June – Santiago: Tabanca
Holidays and events in Cape Verde in July:
- 4th of July – Boavista: Santo Isabel in the town of Sal Rei
- 5th of July – All islands of Cape Verde: Independence Day (National holiday)
- July 25 – Santiago: Saint Laurentius, a local party in Santa Cruz and Pedra Badejo
- Whole of July – Brava: There are several festivals on the island. Ask the local people what you can best visit.
- Last week of July – Sal: Santa Ana
Holidays and events in Cape Verde in August:
- August 8 – Sao Vicente: Nossa Senhora da Luz
- 1st weekend of August – Sao Nicolau: Music Festival in Tarrafal
- 2nd weekend of August – Brava: Nossa Senhora do Monte
- August 10 – Fogo: Festival in Sao Lourenco
- August 13 – Sao Vicente: Santo Antonio in the town of Ribeira Juliao
- August 15 – All islands of Cape Verde: Our Lady of Ascension (National holiday)
- August 16 – Boavista: Sao Rogue (Praia da Cruz Music festival) in Rabil
- August – Sao Vicente: Baia das Gates Music Festival
Holidays and events in Cape Verde in September:
- September 12 – All islands of Cape Verde: National Day in honor of Independence Warrior Amilcar Cabral (National holiday)
- September 24th – Santo Antao: Nossa Senhora de Levremento in Ponta do Sol
- September – Sal: Santa Maria festival in the same name of Santa Maria
- September – Sao Vicente: MindeloAct Theater Festival in Mindelo
- September, after the first rainfall – Sao Nicolau: Festival of the Aqua Dolce in Ribeira da Prata
Holidays and events in Cape Verde in October:
- 1st Sunday of October – Sao Nicolau: Nossa Senhora do Rosario
- October 7th – Santo Antao: Nossa Senhora de Rosario in Ribeira Grande
Holidays and events in Cape Verde in November:
- November 1st – All islands Cape Verde: All Saints (National holiday)
- November 29th – Santo Antao: Santo Andre in Ribeira da Cruz
Holidays and events in Cape Verde in December:
- 1st Sunday of December – Sao Nicolau: Sao Francisco in Tarrafal
- 6th of December – Sao Nicolau: Village Festival in Vila and Ribeira Brava
- December 8 – Boavista: Imaculada Conceicao in Povoacao Velha (southwest of the island)
- December 16 – Fogo: Village Festival in Sao Filipe
- December 25 – All islands Cape Verde: Christmas (National holiday)
- December – Maio: Celebrations for Criso-Re
Opening hours shops during holidays
On national holidays, banks and other official agencies are closed. This also applies to most stores. In more tourist areas, some stores may be open. Keep in mind when making your plans.
Plan your vacation on time
During major local festivities and major festivals such as the Baia das Gates Music festival there is a huge demand for flight tickets and accommodations. Besides tourists, many Cape Verdeans from the other islands or abroad come to the festivities. When planning your vacation, take into account the limited offers when booking your last minute.