🇲🇶 Martinique Carnival

The Martinique Carnival is one of the most popular festivals in the Caribbean Sea, which makes this island receive a large number of visitors during the month of February who want to experience this magical celebration.

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    When is the Martinique Carnival 2021?

    martinica carnival

    The date for the 2021 Martinique carnival has not yet been set, as the Coronavirus pandemic, which has affected the entire world, keeps the agencies in charge of establishing a schedule for this celebration on the lookout.

    Despite this, Martinique celebrates Carnival for two days, usually on Monday and Tuesday of the third week of February, which transforms the island into a place full of color, joy, music, costumes and laughter.

    As if that were not enough, Martinique repeats this celebration a couple of weeks after having finished it and celebrated the sacred Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent in the Catholic religion. Wow!

    What is Martinique Carnival?

    The Martinique carnival has no comparison, for this date can’t miss the music and fireworks in this French island, but the cultural exchange and mixing of roots has allowed it to take ownership of the celebration.

    This celebration is accompanied by the saying: “Do your duty today and repent tomorrow”, alluding to the two days full of joy that are experienced prior to Lent and three weeks after the beginning of it. This space of time allows residents and tourists to rest and recharge energies for the final celebration.

    There is no doubt that this date is of great importance for the island, as it shows the cultural roots that have been preserved over the years and which has allowed them to be a point of attraction during the month of February.

    Thanks to this festival, Martinique has been able to grow in the tourist area, since they have the obligation to provide foreigners with quality service and attention so that they will want to return.

    How is Carnival celebrated in Martinique?

    martinica carnival

    Even though Martinique’s carnival officially begins on a Monday, Dimanche Gras is celebrated on Sunday, where the streets of the island are filled with people dressed in fancy costumes or allusive to certain characters, where Marianne La Po Fig stands out, a woman who dresses in dried banana shells and walks through the streets of the area to demonstrate how little the fruit lasts.

    Carnival Monday is a totally festive day for the island, so businesses do not open their doors and Mock Weddings, a burlesque celebration where men dress up as pregnant brides, begin.

    On Monday night, the masked ball takes place, where the participation of characters such as the Drag Queens, who are made up with women’s features but in an exaggerated way, cannot be missing.

    Tuesday or also known as Mardi Gras, is the Red Devils Days, a day full of parades where you can not miss people dressed up as red devils and accompany the costumes with a trident.

    At the end of the comparsa, the only thing left to do is to dance to the rhythm of calypso, which is usually done until dawn on Ash Wednesday. There is no doubt that after these exhausting days of celebration, many will need a long rest.

    While in other parts of the world people go to religious temples, on Ash Wednesday there are games, where rum, among other spirits, is a must. For this day you can only dress in black and white, because the funeral of King Vaval or king of carnival, which is made with materials that can be burned, since setting fire to it is part of the tradition.

    Three weeks later, the mini-carnival called Mi-Carême takes place, where there is not as much extravagance as on the formal days, but they still dress up and parade through the streets of the island.

    Undoubtedly, during the month of February in Martinique there is no silence, there is only joy, dancing, music, parades, games and sharing between locals and tourists. Great!

    Where is the Martinique Carnival?

    Martinique’s famous carnival is celebrated in the island’s capital, Fort-de-France.

    Martinique is a French region that belongs to the Lesser Antilles and has a characteristic mix of French and Antillean influences, so its official language is French, despite being located in the Caribbean Sea.

    The island has a humid and warm tropical climate, and maintains a temperature between 21º C and 31º C, between December and May there is a dry season, so these are the best months to visit and enjoy its beaches.

    Origins of the Martinique Carnival

    martinica carnival

    The history of the origin of Martinique’s carnival is shared with other Caribbean islands such as Haiti, Trinidad and Dominica. It was the French workers and slaves who brought the carnival mainly to Trinidad, where Caribbean people from different islands were already living.

    These, not being able to participate in the official Carnival of Trinidad, decided to have their own party, which they called Canboulay, which means burnt cane. The slaves gathered to sing in their tents, which they identified with the name of Kaiso and later they were called Calypso.

    Over the years, these workers formed orchestras with frying pans, garbage can lids and oil drums, which made the celebration very peculiar.

    From Trinidad, calypso, steel pans and joy spread throughout the English-speaking Caribbean islands for these increasingly colorful and exciting dates.

    In the 1960s, several Haitian musicians brought to the French Antilles (Guadeloupe and Martinique) the kadans, which is a sophisticated music that pleased the inhabitants and they took it as their own, so it is very played during the carnival. Fantastic!

    Martinique Carnival 2021 Schedule

    martinica carnival

    So far, the celebration of the Martinique Carnival 2021 remains in doubt, due to the Coronavirus pandemic that is still present, so the program for this celebration has not been officially known.

    Given the uncertainty of this celebration, the musical director of PSB 972 (La Plástica System Band), Alain Genevière, said that if the event is held, it would be a copy of 2020, because so far no work has been done on the costumes and a theme, which is changed annually.

    Another factor that should not be forgotten is that the island is in a state of emergency until February 16, 2021, so before that date it is not possible to hold such a massive event as the Martinique Carnival.

    How to get to Martinique?

    As Martinique is located in the Caribbean Sea, the only way to get there is by plane or ferry, depending on where you are located.

    • By plane: If you are in the United States you can take a non-stop flight from Miami or Boston, for other locations it is necessary to go through Puerto Rico and from there take a much smaller plane. From Montreal – Canada, you can also take a flight to Martinique and these are usually available at affordable prices, which will always depend on your place of origin.
    • By Ferry: If you are on a northern Caribbean island, you can take a ferry, sometimes with a transfer, to reach the paradise island of Martinique. Wow!

    Where to stay in Martinique?

    There is no doubt that carnivals in Martinique are lived with great intensity, so when choosing where to stay you should think reasonably, so here are some of the options offered by the island:

    • Simon Hotel: In addition to offering a view of the city of Fort de France, the Simon Hotel has two restaurants that offer fresh and sophisticated dishes for the most demanding guests. Each of its rooms is fully equipped and adapted to your needs. Visit them!
    • Résidence Plocus: If you are looking for a place that assures privacy and security, Résidence Plocus is the best option, besides, in each of its rooms you can feel and live the Caribbean because of the design they have. As if that were not enough, it is located just 10 km from the Aimé Césaire International Airport. Amazing!
    • Hotel l’Impératrice: elegance and comfort represent the Hotel l’Impératrice, which has comfortable and spacious rooms that will allow you to rest in a pleasant way without any problem. Look no further!
    • Karibea La Valmenière Hotel: after a day full of adrenaline, when you arrive at the Karibea La Valmenière Hotel you can enjoy its swimming pool or whirlpool bath, which will greatly relax you and make you have an undisturbed sleep.
    • Foyal Suites: just 15 minutes from the beach and 8 km from the Aimé Césaire International Airport is the Foyal Suites, where comfort is their main ally and they make sure that each guest has a unique experience.

    What to do and see at the Martinique carnival?

    martinica carnival

    In addition to its exciting carnival days, Martinique has spaces that will give you a totally unique experience that will make you want to come back to this tropical Caribbean island.

    • Martinique Natural Regional Park: This natural park, founded in 1976, is the first reserve of its kind to be created on a tropical island. It is a paradise for nature lovers, as it has several options in terms of flora and fauna. Visit it!
    • Jardín de Balata: Three hectares make up this private botanical garden, which is home to more than 3,000 species of tropical plants, including ferns, palms and orchids. Wonderful!
    • Fort Saint Louis: this fort, built in 1638, is now a naval base and historical monument that offers guided tours for those who wish to learn about the past of this Caribbean island.
    • Grand Marché: If you love shopping you must visit the Grand Marché, where you will find a variety of fruits, vegetables, oils, spices, clothing, handbags and wallets. Besides, the price-quality ratio is incomparable. What are you waiting for?

    Is it a safe city?

    The crime rate in Martinique is low, but petty crimes such as robbery or theft can generally occur in tourist sites, so visitors are advised to keep their belongings safe, especially identity documents such as passports.

    As it is an island, it tends to have less walkable places than others, so avoid walking alone, especially at night, as robberies are more common. Be careful!

    What to eat?

    A good trip is influenced by the gastronomy you enjoy, in Martinique you can feel the Caribbean in each of its dishes, that is why we offer you a list where you can taste exquisite options:

    • Le Ti Saint Louis: the widest variety of French and European food is available at Le Ti Saint Louis, from pizzas to the most delicious pastas, come and taste!
    • Lili’s Beach: When it comes to variety, the best representation is Lili’s Beach, where you will find European, French and Caribbean dishes, and best of all, you will be able to enjoy the sea just a few steps away. Amazing!
    • The Yellow: an excellent dish is best enjoyed according to the environment of the place, which is not a problem for The Yellow, because the Caribbean is not only felt in its gastronomy but also in the design of its facilities. Get to know it!
    • Kay Ali: the best French options are available at Kay Ali, where you will also feel totally comfortable, since the environment is incomparable.
    • Hanoi: In Martinique you can also enjoy Asian dishes if you visit Hanoi, where they also offer vegan options if diners prefer. What more do you need?

    There is no doubt that Martinique’s carnivals deserve to be enjoyed in a big way, because the memories you will have will be unforgettable. Dare to live it!

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