Martinique Carnival

The Carnival of Martinique does not end up on Mardi Gras like the catholic calendar says so, but goes on till the day after, also known as the Ash Wednesday. The Imposition of Ashes process takes place the next Friday, since Ash Wednesday is still a celebration day. The Mid Lent is not celebrated.


The Carnival of Martinique, was born of the junction of the European and African cultures during the colonization era. The late 19th Century was its golden age. In 1902, the eruption of the volcano of Mount Pelée destroyed the great City of Saint Pierre, killing 30 000 inhabitants (a great deal of population at that time), yet the Carnival tradition went on and lived on in Fort de France. The Festivities of Ash Wednesday typical of Martinique, can also be found in Guadeloupe and in Guyana.


The festivities starts with a later than in the other two French Departments of America (DFA), generally after the Epiphany, or the beginning of January. At the kickoff of the Carnival Season, each week end, Parades, orchestras, costumed citizen fill the streets of Fort de France and other towns of the Island, yet on a smaller scale than on the shrove days. Pageants are taking place, as well as Carnival Shows, and Exhibitions. We have to say the carnival singing contest are less popular these days.

Like anywhere else the Carnival of Martinique lies on a specific gestures and music. A good carnival songs always uses the news or relevant information at the time, and treats those with humor and comedy. The Streets Orchestras contribution in the Carnival, is a recent one, starting in 1975, back in the old and glory days of the Pre Eruption Saint Pierre Carnival those were not existing nor relevant.

Fort de France with its 98 000 inhabitants and a logistic handled by the Town Council (with a dedicated department for the Carnival) welcomes, as the years goes by, more and more audience and participants, but the Carnival takes place all over the Island, with different means of course, yet smaller towns manage to have a spectacular carnival. There is of course, parts of the Carnival that are specially designed for the children.

All the categories of the actors and participants in the Carnival, are celebrated and acknowledged since 1992, by the 12 Trophies Of The Carnival Of Martinique (24 prizes), a great contest where the public can vote directly or by internet, a 13th trophy is the Jury’s prerogative. Other trophies and their pageants do take place like the Vaval d’Or in Fort de France since 2004.

>>more information

Ziléa, the club of Tourism and Holidays Professionals in Martinique is the professional alliance of the key players in tourism of the Island.

Our Hotels, Hotels Clubs, Resorts, Vacations Villages, Travel Agencies, Car Rental Companies, Leisure & sports activities, and all of our others tourism partners in Martinique, all joint in the Club of Tourism and Holidays of Professionals in Martinique Ziléa, welcome their guests as soon as they land in Fort de France. Our Only Goal: Improve and Upgrade the Tourism Offer in Martinique, in a clear desire to cater for all.

For More Information :
Ziléa the Club of Tourism and Holidays Professionals in Martinique
List of the Members of the Club of Tourism and Holidays Professionals in Martinique.
Contact Ziléa, the Club of Tourism and Holidays Professionals in Martinique