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the unmissable Carnival of Martinique

Program of the Carnival Martinique 2023

 A specific circuit has been defined in the city center of Fort-de-France. Everything will take place between 1pm and 7pm. The parades will take place in the main roads of the city: Boulevard du Général de Gaulle, Boulevard Allegre etc.

Carnival parades in January in Martinique

  • Sunday, January 8, 2023: parade in the town of Lamentin at 16:00 (8 groups)

  • Sunday, January 15, 2023: parade foyal at 3:00 pm

  • Saturday, January 28: parade of vauclin at 20:00

  • Sunday, January 29, 2023: Saint-Jospeh parade at 3:00 pm

  • Saturday, February 4, 2023 : Terres-Sainville parade at 8:00 PM

  • Saturday, February 11, 2023: parade in Fort-de-France

  • Saturday, February 18, 2023: parade in Saint-Pierre

(Find below all the program of January and February)

The fat days of Carnival 2023

  • Fat Sunday 19 February 2023, 1st day.

sunday-fat-carnival-martinique

Source : http://carnavalmartinique.free.fr/index.html

04:00 pm : Great exit of his majesty Vaval! Essential element of the Martinique carnival! Presence of groups on foot, street bands and floats in the streets of the capital.

Location : Streets of Fort-de-France

Theme : The great carnival of Martinique

Colors : Multicolors

6:00 pm to 9:00 pm : Fights and demonstrations of danmyé, a martial art from Martinique.

Location: Place de la Savane

Theme : Demonstration

Colors : Multicolor

  • Fat Monday 20 February 2023 March 2023, 2nd day.

monday-fat-carnaval-martinique

Source : http://carnavalmartinique.free.fr/index.html

4:00 pm : All more strange than the others, the burlesque weddings are great moments of humor and derision. The man disguises himself as a woman, most often with a white dress, and the woman puts on her tuxedo.

Location : Streets of Fort-de-France

Theme : Burlesque wedding

Colors : White

6:00 pm to 9:00 pm : Fights and demonstrations of danmyé, a martial art from Martinique.

Location: Place de la Savane

Theme : Demonstration

Colors : White

  • Fat Tuesday 21 February 2023, 3rd day.

fat-tuesday-carnival-martinique

Source : http://carnavalmartinique.free.fr/index.html

4:00 pm : The highlight of the Martinican carnival, Shrove Tuesday is one of the days where the popular fervor is the greatest. The carnival workers are traditionally dressed in red. The red devils decorated with cattle horns on their heads and bits of broken mirrors on their bodies go out into the streets. The Papa diable are the devils that scare the most the children. Location: Streets of Fort-de-France

Theme : ''Vidé'' in red

Colors : Red

6:00 pm to 9:00 pm : Fights and demonstrations of danmyé, a martial art from Martinique. Location: Place de la Savane

Theme : Demonstration

Colors : Red

  • Ash Wednesday, February 22nd 2023, last day.

ash-wednesday-carnival-martinique

Source : http://carnavalmartinique.free.fr/index.html

16h00 : Last day of celebration. The guiablesses, the widows are inconsolable and the carnavaliers accomplish the last rounds of emptying. At dusk, the pyre burns, leaving us only the ashes of Vaval.

Location : Streets of Fort-de-France

Theme : Incineration of his majesty Vaval.

Colors : Black and white

6:00 pm to 9:00 pm : Fights and demonstrations of danmyé, a martial art from Martinique.

Location: Place de la Savane

Theme : Demonstration

Colors : Black and white

Put on your best disguise and live the Martinique carnival like you never did before : Reserve now your rental car.

Characteristics of the Martinique carnival

The "vidés" : the vidé consists in following a group on foot. At times the crowd participating in the vidés stops, then leaves a good distance and spontaneously and frantically the crowd runs back to the group.

The "vidés pyjama" which take place notably on Monday morning at dawn at the jump of the bed.

The "bradjaks" : these are old cars loaded with carnival people, decorated with a current theme. They move in groups and make a lot of noise.

The "clay men" dressed with clay and taking postures of clay statues.

The "neg gwo siwo" coated with molasses and coal, reminiscent of the old slaves.

"Vaval": a large statue of several meters representing a current theme, parading with the festival-goers and destined to be burned on Wednesday after his "Avis de Zob Sec" (funeral oration taking up polemical themes of current events, especially local)

Find the program of the carnival of Martinique in January and February

january-carnival-program-martinique

february-carnival-program-martinique

The Martinique Carnival: an integral part of the country's history

Born in the city of Saint Pierre, the Carnival of Martinique mixes African culture and European Catholic tradition. During the 17th and 18th centuries, it was reserved for the island's rich colonists who organized large masked balls in the European style.

In 1848, the Carnival underwent its first major change. With the end of slavery, the festivities opened up to a wider public and became more popular. Carnival traditions were enriched by the Creole culture, its beliefs, its instruments and its dances.

Later, in 1902, the eruption of Mount Pelee interrupted the life of the island. 30 000 people died in the disaster. The mourning Martinique will suspend the Carnival for two years.

Today, the tradition of Carnival continues and gives him each year to a festival in Martinique, mainly in Fort-de-France. If you are in the city in February, it will be very difficult for you to escape!

defile-carnaval-martinique

Joy, color and music: join the Carnival parades

The parades begin after Epiphany, in early January. Every weekend, during the Carnival period, many activities await you. Events consisting of street bands and people in disguise parade through all the municipalities of the island.

These parades already announce the color of the festivities to come. The most important Carnival events take place during the fat days: Sunday, Monday, Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday (from February 23 to February 26). Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday are public holidays in Martinique.

Ash Wednesday symbolizes the end of Carnival and the beginning of Lent. The carnival emblem called "Vaval" is burned to mark the end of the festivities. Everyone gathers around this giant fire and mourns the death of the king of Vaval.

In each commune, the Martinique people organize the election of their queen. The latter will then march at the head of the parade in Saint-Pierre.

Europcar advice :

  • For all carnival events in downtown Fort-de-France, we advise you to arrive between 1 and 2 hours in advance.

  • Parking is difficult in this area and parking spaces are scarce, given the number of participants and spectators of the carnival.

  • Know the dates of this year's carnival

All closed and open parking lots in downtown Fort-de-France are free during the fat days. Among them :

  • Cour Perrinon parking lot

  • Parking of Pointe-Simon

  • Parking de la Savane. 

Finally, don't worry about the climate, at this time of the year in Martinique, it is about 28°C in the shade.

Rent a car to participate in the carnivals

Carnival festivities take place in every city on the island. Why not take full advantage of it and organize a road trip to the celebrations on the island? Attend the different Miss Carnival elections and enjoy the carnival atmosphere.

We put at your disposal a fleet of vehicles to travel the roads of Martinique in all serenity. Family cars or 4x4, choose the mode of transport that suits you best.

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