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the unmissable Carnival of Martinique

Carnival dates in Martinique 2024

Dimanche gras: February 11, 2024, official opening of the carnival in Martinique Lundi gras: February 12 Shrove Tuesday: February 13 Ash Wednesday: February 14, end of Carnival in Martinique with the death of Vaval and the start of the Lenten season

Carnival dates in the south:

While the Fort-de-France Carnival is eagerly awaited, carnival-goers also flock to the south of the island for unforgettable, colorful parades !

Sunday January 7: Carnival Soley Sud Show Sunday January 28: Election of the Queen Mother of the South Sunday February 4: Election of the mini-queen and queen of the south

Parade du Sud :

Lundi gras, February 12 in Sainte-Luce. Starting at 2:30 p.m.

(Find below all the program of January and February)

parade-du-sud-carnaval-en-martinique-parades-événement

Carnival fat days

A very specific circuit has been defined in downtown Fort-de-France. Everything will take place between 4pm and 9pm. Parades will take place along the city's main thoroughfares: Boulevard du Général de Gaulle, Boulevard Allegre, etc. The Fat Days in 2024 will start on Sunday, February 11, 2024, and end on Wednesday, February 14, 2024.

  • Fat Sunday 11 February 2024, 1st day.

sunday-fat-carnival-martinique

© Crédit source : Thomas Garric

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 12 February 2024, 2nd day.

monday-fat-carnaval-martinique-mariage-burlesque

© Credit source : Thomas Garric

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 13 February 2024, 3rd day.

fat-tuesday-carnival-martinique

© Crédit source : https://www.martinique.org/fr/tout-savoir/culture/carnaval

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 14 2024, last day.

ash-wednesday-carnival-martinique

© Crédit source : https://www.francetvpro.fr/media/12268

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)

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

© Crédit source : Kay Radio

Join the Carnaval de fort de france 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.

renault-clio-car-rental-martinique-gauche

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