Martinique: Holidays, Events and Climate
There are a number of public holidays that do not have a fixed date, but are based on the location of Easter. Easter takes place on the first Sunday that follows the first full moon after the beginning of spring. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which ends on Holy Saturday, is 46 days before Holy Saturday. The date for Pentecost is then 50 days after Easter. The Corpus Christi festival is celebrated on the 2nd Thursday after Pentecost. All Saints’ Day is celebrated for Orthodox Christians on the 1st Sunday after Pentecost, but for Catholic Christians the date is fixed on November 1st. On October 31, Protestants celebrate Reformation Day. The Halloween festival also takes place on this day.
|Date||Type of holiday|
|January 1st||New Year|
|March April||Good Friday and Easter Monday|
|1st of May||Labor Day|
|May 27th||abolition of slavery|
|July 14th||Jour de la Bastille / National holiday|
|21 July||Jour de Victor Schölcher/Day of the scalv liberation|
|November 1st||All Saints Day|
|24th of December||Christmas|
In addition to the public holidays, Martinique also celebrates:
|6th January||Feast of Epiphany|
|Middle of Lent||Wed Caréme Festival|
|December 28th||Jour des jeunes Saintes/children’s parades|
Source: Countryaah – Martinique Holidays
|February/March, five days before Ash Wednesday||Carnival (Vaval) across the isla|
|April||Fête Nautique du Robert in the municipality of Robert|
|April||Agricultural Fair,Rivière-Pilote’s traditional exhibition and fair|
|April||Les Voies de la Traditiona ten day fair with concerts, art exhibitions, dance events and lots of good food in Fort de FranceVisitors Bureau
|May||Mai de Dillonin Fort de France
theaters, – dance music programs, art exhibitions and other cultural events dedicated to the city’s past.Cultural Center – Jean-Marie Serreau
|May||Annual Culinary Weekin Sainte-Marie|
|8th of May||Cultural events to commemorate the volcanic eruption on May 8, 1902 in St. Pierre|
|May 22||Slavery Abolition CommemorationCelebration for the abolition of slavery by Victor Schoelcher,
Conferences, torchlight parades, markets and folk ballets
|June||Fête de la MusiqueNational and international day of music, free street concerts|
|July||Fort de France Festival; 3 days of theater, concerts and special eventsParc Floral Fort-de-France|
|July||Caribbean Gospel ConcertSev Caraib|
|August||Cultural events in the parish of St. Marie|
|September||Journées du PatrimoineCultural day, “open house” for most of the cultural buildings and museumsDirection Régionale des Affaires Culturelles.|
|November||International Festival of ClarinetConcerts
Center Culturel du Bourg du Lamentin
|November||“Noël z’habitant” – Christmas songs festivalChristmas of local traditions
in Saint Joseph
|December||International Jazz FestivalEmail:
|December||Rum Festivalat the St. James distillery in Saint-MarieThe St.James museum/ distillery
|February||Nautical Weekboat races and events with themes around the sea
Club Nautique de Schoelcher
Racing Tourism Office of Marin
|March||Windsurfing tour de la MartiniqueWind force|
|April||OMC RobertThe Aqua Festival (Water Festival)is a sailing festival with shows and parades around the Bay of Robert|
|July||Tour de la MartiniqueCycle race
Comité Régional de Cyclisme de la Martinique
|July August||Tour de Martinique des Yoles Rondes,Sailboat races, departure and arrival in Le Robert, sailing trip around the island with seven stops|
|October||International Fishing TournamentMartinique Game Fishing Association|
|November||Fishing Tournamentin Marin
Martinique Bifffish Association
|November||Half-Marathon21.1 km around Fort-de-France
Sports Services of Fort de France
|November||Yoles boat races, sailing boat racesBiguin’s Regatta
The carnival came to the Lesser Antilles through the Catholic Europeans, but the African slaves knew about parades and masks from their religion. Even today one can clearly see pagan roots in carnival activities. After the liberation of slaves, the carnival was transformed from an elegant banquet by the black population into a seething street festival that mocked the mighty, but also targeted human weaknesses and the struggle of the sexes. One of the most splendid carnivals is celebrated in Martinique.
Officially, the festivities begin on the Sunday after January 6th and end on Ash Wednesday, but especially the last four days, from Carnival Sunday to Ash Wednesday. On these days, night is turned into day, without interruption, crowds of people roam the streets to the deafening sounds of various orchestras. Every day has a special motto. For example, one day is dedicated to the devil and all costumes are red, another day it is black and white.
The main character of the carnival is the king “Varval”, the large paper mache statue symbolizes a person or an event that shaped the last year. His “subjects” have to entertain the king for four days, after which his majesty is exhausted and, with general mourning, is handed over to the flames, only to be resurrected a year later.
The climate in Martinique is tropical. The island can be visited all year round. The average annual temperature is around 27 degrees. There are no significant temperature differences between the individual seasons.
The rainy season falls in the months of July-October, but you can also be surprised by heavy showers outside the rainy season. Hurricanes can occur between August and October.
The best time to travel to Martinique
People who like to enjoy a lot of sun and who do not have any problems with higher temperatures can easily visit the country all year round. But people who prefer a moderate climate and lower temperatures should rather use the months of October to March. The north of the island is usually a little cooler than the south.
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Martinique currently (2010) has no UNESCO World Heritage Sites or UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites
Plantation Leyritz/Basse- Pointe
The former sugar factory and rum distillery now houses a beautiful hotel and restaurant with one of the best kitchens on the island, as well as a doll museum. The dolls are all made of leaves, sticks and flowers and dressed in historical costumes.
A botanical garden with a papillonarium was set up on the former plantation from the 17th century. The visitor moves through dozens of fluttering butterflies. In addition, the various stages of development from the caterpillar to the pupa and on to the butterfly are clearly explained.
The ruins of the former slave accommodation and the remains of the water mill can also be visited.
The famous Rum Clément is still produced on the former sugar cane and rum plantation. The plantation dates back to the 18th century and was declared a historical monument in 1996. The main building in Creole style is still furnished in the original and has already welcomed various international politicians; like the US-American President George Bush, and Francois Mitterand. They chose this place for a summit meeting following the end of the war in Kuwait. Well-known representatives of the film industry have also visited the beautiful plantation. Around the plantation there is a 16 hectare garden that is open to the public. More than 300 different species can be admired on the way through the tropical garden. The historic still is still in operation today and of course the rum can be tasted and purchased in the plantation’s own shop. It is often pointed out that the former owner was the first colored plantation owner on the island.
Habitation DEPAZ/Plantation de la Montagne Pelée
Located at the foot of the Montagne Pelée volcano, the now 400-year-old plantation was almost completely destroyed when the volcano erupted. Then it was rebuilt. Today it is open to the public who can visit the former residential buildings, the rum museum and the rum storage facility. The plantation is surrounded by various sugar cane fields and a beautiful tropical garden.
The plantation is now home to an interesting banana museum, where you can see two dozen different types of bananas as well as lush flowers from the same plant family. The museum uses display boards to explain the historical development of banana cultivation up to the present day.
Domaine de la Pagerie/Trois-Ilets
Marie-Rose (Joséphine) Tascher de la Pagerie, who later became the French empress and wife of Napoleon, was born in this plantation house in 1763. Her parents’ plantation was destroyed by a hurricane during Joséphine’s lifetime. A few decades ago, the vet Rose-Rosett acquired the 40 hectare site and built the museum. It is where the furniture, copies of pictures and letters from the former empress are kept.
The library was built for the Paris World Exhibition in 1889 as a Caribbean pavilion; designed by the architect Henri Picq on the plan of a Greek cross and in the Romanesque-Byzantine style. It was later disassembled into its individual parts and shipped to Martinique. Today the multicolored library with its glass paddock is one of the most beautiful sights in the city.
Monument to the Empress Joséfine/Fort-de-France
The monument to the Empress, Napoleon’s wife, is made of Carrara marble, the figure’s view of her home village Trois-Ilets is erected. Since the former French Empress is not very popular with the locals, as she forced the reintroduction of slavery, the head of the monument is stolen from time to time.
The first construction of the City Hall was completed in 1848. However, this was severely damaged by a fire (1890) and a cyclone (1891). The reconstruction of the town hall was finished in 1901. This building is a wonderful example of colonial architecture. In 1979 the town hall was placed under monument protection.
Here documents on the history of the slavery and interesting objects (approx., 000) of the Indian cultures are exhibited.
Paul Gaugin Museum/St. Pierre
The museum does not have any original paintings; instead, his life is documented using letters, photos and personal items. In one room one can see reproductions of the pictures that the painter painted during his five-month stay in Martinique.
Franck Perret Museum/St. Pierre
After a strong volcanic eruption completely destroyed the city in 1902, the American volcanologist Frank Perret founded the museum in 1923, which documents the time before and after the disaster. Through the embers you can see caked porcelain, melted bottles, the deformed bell of the cathedral and pictures of the victims who lost their lives during the devastating volcanic eruption.
Musée Vulcanologique / St. Pierre
Theater The Saint-Pierre Theater (La Comédie or Salle de la Comédie) opened in 1786. It served as a theater, opera, ballet and concert hall in Martinique. In 1901 the theater was closed due to financial difficulties. A year later in 1902, the theater was badly damaged by the eruption of the Montagne Pelée. The ruins of the theater were listed as a historical monument in 1996 and can be visited.
Cathédral Saint Luis/Fort- de- France
The cathedral with its 60 m high tower was built according to the plans of the architect Pierre-Henri Picq. The construction of the cathedral began in 1895. As the previous churches fell victim to various natural disasters, this church was made earthquake-proof with a special construction, the metal skeleton construction. The cathedral is dedicated to St. Louis and the style of construction is to be assigned to historicism.
Saint-Étienne du Marin
The church was built in 1766 in the parish of Le Marin. The church is consecrated to Saint Stephen. The church is in the so-called Jesuit baroque style. The wooden ceiling of the nave is particularly remarkable, as its shape is reminiscent of a boat keel. In 1987 the church was listed as a historical monument.
The church was built in 1928 and is a scaled down copy of the church of the same name in Paris.
Central vegetable market; Gran Marché/Fort de France
The big market is on Rue Isambert. In addition to the wide range of tropical fruits, the vendors in traditional colorful Madras costumes also offer the island’s typical spices and aromatic resins for sale. One corner is reserved for a few small market restaurants that invite you to homemade delicacies.
Université des Antilles et de la Guyane
The University of Antilles Guiana was founded in 1969 and acts as the French “overseas” university for French Guiana, Guadeloupe and Martinique. Approximately 12,000 students are currently enrolled at this university.
Aquarium in Schoelcher
This aquarium in Schoelcher is one of the largest and most beautiful in the Caribbean, it contains 250,000 liters of water and provides a habitat for more than 2,000 fish.
This garden with its breathtaking fauna is one of the most beautiful in the Caribbean.
Pointe du Diamant
At the southern tip of the island, the volcanic tip Rocher du Diamant rises out of the water at a height of 176 m; a rock cone in the deep blue of the Caribbean. At the beginning of the 18th century the British used the rock as a bulwark and attacked the passing French ships from here.
Waterfall near Fort-de-France
Not far from the Botanical Garden in Balata is this easily accessible waterfall. The river basin behind the waterfall is great for swimming.
- at Le Diamant
- Anse des Salines
- Anse Trabaud
- Anse Michel