Island of Celebration: Reunion Island's Many Festivals
Barely a month goes by when Reunion Island is not celebrating. With such a diverse mix of cultures and religions, the island's calendar of festivities is jam-packed year-round. Here's an overview of 2019 festive highlights, so you can start planning your visit.
From Tamil holy festivals to Chinese New Year, Diwali celebrations, electronic music festivals, adventure film festivals and more, there's always something to celebrate on the island.
NEW YEAR'S EVE / 31 December 2018
The island's massive New Year's Eve party is famous for being the biggest celebration in the Indian Ocean islands! Locals and visitors alike flock to the beach on the shores of the beautiful lagoon to find a spot to celebrate - sometimes two days before the event!
URBAN BLOCK PARTY / 24 - 25 January 2019
Urban music takes the streets of Reunion Island. An open air festival featuring the tropical sounds of the So Watts collective (Fluidz, Psychorigid, Brown Boogz, Scholar.G, Da Skill), hip hop artist Sleepy Tamashii and French rapper Josman. Tickets available here.
CHINESE NEW YEAR / 5 February 2019
Traditionally celebrated between January and February, the Chinese New Year is an important cultural event for the Chinese community of Reunion. While the dance of the lions, traditional meals and colorful parades represent the festive side of this celebration, the New Year is also a symbol of spirituality and religious fervor in Chinese pagodas.
FRANCOFOLIES / 8-10 March 2019
The Francofolies festival takes place in Saint Pierre and featuring Frenach artists raning from hip hop to electronica. Tickets available here.
TAMIL NEW YEAR / 14 April 2019
On the day of Tamil New Year, Reunion’s Hindu community congregates at the temple, where a priest gives a reading of the annual forecasts for Pandjagom (Tamil calendar). They then celebrate the New Year around a vegan meal, alternating sweet and bitter foods to symbolize joys and sorrows. The various public festivities organized for this occasion are open to the general public.
SAKIFO / 7 - 9 June 2019
The island's biggest music festival is back for another year! Featuring some of the biggest musical acts in Europe and Africa alike, this beachside music festival is a must for any passionate music fan! Tickets available here.
BASTILLE DAY / 14 July 2019
The French National Day is a huge day of celebration on the island. A great day to indulge in freshly baked croissants and ice cold bottles of Champagne!
FESTIVAL OF DIGUAN / 11-15 August 2019
The festival of Guan Di is an event dedicated to Chinese culture, expressed through its dishes and street artists. Dragons, dance troupes and lions bring the streets to life, especially near the pagodas in Saint-Denis, to the delight of visitors. Guan Di is an opportunity for us all to learn more about Chinese culture. A fun and festive introduction to this community, with a show by acrobatic and dance troupes as well as presentation of artistic handicrafts. www.guandireunion.com
GRAND RAID / 17 - 20 October
One of the most gruelling races in the world, people travel from all over to compete in this tough but beautiful challenge.
DIWALI / 27 October 2019
In the Tamil religion, this colorful festival represents the victory of Light over Darkness. The parade at sunset is a beautiful sight to behold. Diwali is a major event in the Indian calendar and one of the island’s inescapable events.
LIBERTE METISSE / From 20 December 2019
This event celebrate Abolition of the Slavery in Reunion Island. It takes part of the 20th December's festivities and it's synonym of liberty and recognition of the mixed culture. Liberté Métisse is: concert, theater, parade, screening of short film, animations, exhibition. Set to the rhythms of Maloya music, it is a popular jubilee, a chance to share stories and legends, prepare typical dishes (cari, rougail, etc.) and dance around the island.