Carnival in Mindelo


Festivals in Cape Verde are held on each of the islands. They can be joyful, colourful events and consequently fun to watch and in which to participate. The type of festival varies from island to island. Here, we give you a summary of the festivals you might discover when visiting Cape Verde. Many are centred on saints days consequently some villages have their own, relating to their churches dedication. Some events, such as the Gamboa Festival attract musicians from other countries.

Carnival is celebrated on all of the islands at the start of Lent. The celebrations often last over the three days before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. It is a colourful and joyous event. Although it is celebrated on all the islands, the most elaborate event is in Mindelo on the island of São Vicente. There is more information on the Mindelo Carnival below.

Boa Vista

Cruz D’Nho Lôl in May

Santa Cruz in May

Festas de S. João Batista in June

Santo António in June

Santa Isabel in July

Festival of Music of Praia d’Cruz in August


Festa de Santa Cruz in May

Festas Juninas including Festa de São João Baptista on 24 June

Dia de São Paulinho in July

Sete Sóis Sete Luas Festival varies each year


Carnival in the days immediately before Lent

Festa de Bandeira de São Felípe at end of April


Festa de S. João in June

Festa do Município in September

Festival de Bitxa Rotxa in September


Carnival on starts three days before Ash Wednesday (often February)

Festa de Santa Cruz in May

Nossa Senhora da Piedade in August

Santa Maria Music Festival in September

Festividades do Município do Sal in September


Atlantic Music Expo in April

Kriol Jazz Festival in April

Festa do Município (Praia) in May

Gamboa in May

Tabanca in June

Festa da Nossa Sra. da Graça in August

Festa de Nha Santa Catarina in November

Santo Antão

Festa de Santo António das Pombas in June

Violin Festival in June

Festa de São João Baptista in June

Sete Sóis e Sete Luas time of yeah varies

São Nicolau

Carnival on starts three days before Ash Wednesday

Sodad Festival d’Morna in April

Festa de São João in June

Festival Praia de Tedja in August

Feira Gastronomica Gostos e Sabores do Parque in August

São Vicente

Carnival on starts three days before Ash Wednesday (see more information below)

Festival de Música da Laginha in May

Festas Joaninas “Kolá San Jon” in June

Kavala Fresk Festival “Diplomacia gastronómica” in July

Festival Internacional de Musica da Baía das Gatas in August

Morna Jazz Festival in September

Mindelact Festival Internacional da Teatro in November (time of year may vary)

Mindelo Carnival

The carnival in Mindelo is the biggest and the most elaborate in Cape Verde. The barefoot diva, Cesária Évora called Mindelo a ‘little Brazil’. This carnival is not on the scale of the one in Rio de Janeiro, but it is very easy to enjoy because Mindelo is a relatively small city.

The carnival celebrations start on the Friday night before the official Carnival day (Mardi Gras / Shrove Tuesday). The celebrations continue over the weekend with various parades and events. Then the main procession is on Tuesday, however, the party continues right through to the following Sunday.

A popular element in the Mindelo carnival is the Mandinga groups. They dress up as warriors. The Mandikas are an ethnic people from parts of West Africa. Recently they have started parading around the city on Sundays, start after the New Year’s Eve celebrations. On the Sunday after carnival the Mandingas parade in what is called the ‘carnival funeral’.

The carnival season in Mindelo is very beautiful and is well worth visiting. Accommodation does cost more during the carnival season, but it does not increase as much as it does for carnival in some other countries. Accommodation and flights get booked up very early, so it is advisable to book early. The future Carnival dates are as follows:

2024: 13 February
2025: 4 March
2026: 17 February