Traditional Kanak dancers, New Caledonia Traditional Kanak dancers, New Caledonia – Image courtesy of francokanak.canalblog.com

Top Festivals & Events in New Caledonia

Consider planning your honeymoon or romantic getaway to coincide with one of New Caledonia's major festivals.

Join in the fun at one of several holidays and festivals that take place throughout the year in New Caledonia.

Besides the larger regional and national events, most villages have special celebrations often related to food, harvest, sport and/or religion.

Major festivals include…

Festival of the Yam

Watch the most important event in the Kanak calendar: the sacred Festival of the Yam, which marks the beginning of the yam harvest and is usually held in mid-April.

In New Caledonia, the yam is treated with the respect usually saved for an ancestor. The yams are blessed the following day by the priest then distributed among the villagers.

Several yam festivals take place across New Caledonia between February and April, when each village celebrates the harvest.

The Nouméa yam festival in mid-April features a parade, carnival, exhibitions, concerts, dancing, and tastings.


Giant Omelette Festival

New Caledonia's Giant Omelette Festival at Par Fayard takes place around Easter, during which a dozen chefs make a huge 3.5m diameter omelette using around 7000 eggs.

The festival, usually held in April, dates back to the time when Napoleon ordered the townspeople of Bessieres to create a giant omelette for his soldiers.

Today, this unique festival is celebrated in five French-speaking cities in France, Canada and New Caledonia.


Great Lagoon Regatta

The New Caledonia Great Lagoon Regatta is an international boating event open to all types and sizes of boats, and usually takes place annually in June.

The regatta is a celebration of Melanesian culture and traditions. The various stops include tropical islets and feature parties with traditional food, music and traditional dancing.


Bastille Day

Bastille Day, held on July 14th each year is a national holiday in France and New Caledonia, marked with a military parade, fireworks, music, and dancing.


Nouméa Carnival

Held in mid-August every year, the Nouméa Carnival is one of the islands largest events attended by about 15,000 people.

There are concerts, music, costumes, dancing and food and in the early evening, a grand parade moves from Birhakeim Square through the streets to the Jules Ferry Quay where the day ends with a fireworks display.


Dancer in New Caledonia

New Caledonia Events (by month) include…

April


Festival of the 'Sarexwada Yam'

(Noumea) – A celebration of the new harvest of the ‘igname’ or yam, with tastings, exhibitions and a café-concert. Entry F500.

Carnival of Noumea

Join the fun as dozens of themed floats parade Noumea’s streets, then dance the night away at the carnival dance hall in Place des Cocotiers. .

Green Carnival

(Koumac) – The northernmost town of Koumac celebrates with a carnival. Each year has a different theme.


May


May Avocado Festival

(Maré, Nécé) – A celebration of the avocado and other delicacies. Local tribes organise visits, hiking and pirogue (outrigger canoe) trips.

Venison and Prawn Festival

(Boulouparis) – Watch carving of the venison, take part in the prawn-shelling competition, or join in the 'Stag's Roar' contest.

Street Carnival and Pastry Contest

(Koumac) – The town of Koumac becomes pedestrian-only for this carnival, and local pastry shops square off in a contest to see who makes the best patisserie.

Va'a / Waka Ama (Outrigger Paddling) World Champs

(Noumea) – The annual World Championships take place on the magnificent waterfront of Noumea’s famous Anse Vata Bay. More than 2,500 international athletes and officials from more than 20 different countries attend.


June


DTBA Festival of Music

(Koumac) – A nationwide celebration of music which takes place in Koumac town centre and surrounding areas.


July


Transcaledonian Southern Province Mountain Race

This annual event in the first weekend of July crosses New Caledonia’s central mountain range.

Bastille Day

Noumea Celebrations including a morning military parade through Noumea, folk dancing displays and evening fireworks.


September


Loyalty Islands Fair

(Lifou) – This year's festival takes place on the largest of the Loyalty Islands, Lifou, which is famous for its long bays, white-sand beaches, reef cliffs and magically-coloured coral banks.

Candlenut Worm Fair and Market Day

(Farino) – Fans of this unusual local speciality indulge their taste for these plump white worms. Enter the contest for the champion worm eater! Farino holds a lively market the same day.

New Caledonia Day

(Nationwide, 4 Sept) – A celebration commemorating the day in 1853 when New Caledonia was officially made a French overseas territory.


October


Seafood Market

(Menaku, Maré) – A three-day seafood festival and market at Menaku in the Loyalty Islands.


November


Red Snapper Festival

(Maré) – A festive weekend on the island with red snapper tasting, fishing demonstrations, excursions and boat trips to Rekabeco.

Taro Festival

(Maré) – Agricultural and cultural festival with a focus on taro. Held in Rawa tribal village, La Roche District.


December


Festival of Nengone

(Maré) – A Christmas festival at Nengone with bustling markets, refreshment, arts and crafts and attractions.

Christmas Market

(Farino) – A Christmas-themed market in the centre of Farino village with arts and crafts, fresh local produce and local performers playing traditional and contemporary Christmas music.

Christmas Lights of Noumea

Noumea’s Place des Cocotiers lights up throughout December with entertainment for the children and a giant letterbox for their letters to Santa.


Latest update: Top Festivals & Events in New Caledonia: 31 March, 2020


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