Martinique Carnival

Martinique Carnival is a pre-lenten carnival that takes place every year to showcase the rich culture and traditions of Martinique, which is a beautiful French Caribbean Island. Being one of the biggest carnivals in the world, This multi-day annual carnival mixes European catholic and African cultures perfectly and spreads the colorful celebration of life not just in Martinique but all over the world. 

From culture to traditions and food to music, you can experience the most beautiful facade of Martinique in this carnival. No wonder why people from all over the world flock to Martinique during the early months of the year to attend this festival. If you also have any such plans, let us tell you everything about the Martinique Carnival 2023.

History of the Martinique Carnival

After seeing the grand festivity of the carnival, you yourself can assume that the festival is not new to the island. It definitely has something to do with the history of Martinique and it is true as well. The carnival actually found its roots during the time of 17 and 18 centuries.

At first, the carnival was organized by the rich people of the society and only they used to participate in it. During 1848s, a major change was brought in the festival and it was opened to the public and this is when the carnival gained worldwide popularity. Thereafter, its recognition only skyrocketed, and today it is known to be one of the most popular and biggest carnivals in the world. 

When the Martinique Carnival is celebrated

As we said earlier, the Martinique carnival is a pre-lenten carnival, it takes place every year 4 days before Lent and continues till Ash Wednesday. To be more precise, the festivities and fetes or you can say the carnival season begins weeks before these four days. You can see Martinique hued in the colors of carnival festivity from mid-January itself. The dates may vary every year but the day will remain the same because the festival is all about celebrating the significance of these particular days.

How long Martinique Carnival last

Officially, the festival actually lasts four days that usually falls in February. However, unofficially the festivities of the festival begin way before a month. So, you can say that the carnival season lasts for around 1 month in Martinique.

How Martinique Carnival is celebrated

Martinique Carnival is a famous carnival in the world and it’s the way of celebrating this carnival that makes it different from the others. Unlike others, this carnival showcases the classic Caribbean culture with a distinctly European twist. During the four days of the festival, the island is filled with colorful costumes, funky accessories, street parades, non-stop music, fun-filled parties, luscious local foods, and many other things that can be experienced only in this carnival.

Main events of the Martinique Carnival

This four-day festival has a dedicated event for every day that is celebrated with utmost pomp and gaiety. Each day has a traditional name and a particular traditional event is held every day. Let us tell you about that in detail.

  • Dimanche Gras – Shrove Sunday -1st day

Dimanche Gras is officially the first day of the Martinique Carnival. On this day, a big parade takes place and the Carnival King – King Vaval is shown to the public.

  • Lundi Gras – Shrove Monday – 2nd day

Also known as Rose Monday, the second day of the carnival is the Burlesque Wedding Day. This day, you will see women dressed up as men and vice versa.

  • Mardi Gras – Shrove Tuesday – 3rd day

Sometimes tagged as ‘Fat Tuesday’ or ‘day of the devil’, the third day of the carnival is the wildest day of the celebration. A mega street parade takes place on this day.

  • Ash Wednesday – last day

The feature event of the last day of the carnival is the funeral of king Vaval. People dressed either in black or white perform many different activities.

Characters of the Martinique Carnival

Martinique Carnival has some special characters that you can see only in the carnival. Let us tell you the names of the main characters of the event.

  • King Vaval
  • La Guiablesse
  • The Touloulou
  • Les Nèg Gwo Siwo
  • Clay men
  • Maryan Lapo fig
  • Red Devil (Diable Rouge)
  • The Cane Cutter
  • Karolyn zyé Kokli
  • Bwa Bwa

Martinique Carnival 2023 Schedule

Martinique Carnival 2023 is all set to take the world by storm with its grand mega-celebration. The festivities and fetes have already begun and the festival will officially start in almost one and a half months. The dates for Martinique Carnival 2023 are:

  • 19 to 22 February 202

Schedule for Martinique Carnival 2023

Here is the complete schedule for Martinique Carnival 2023.

  • Dimanche Gras – Shrove  Sunday (19 February 2023, 1st day)

04:00 pm : Jou Ouvé” Big parade in pajamas and The Great Carnival of Martinique – coming out of the King

Location : Streets of Fort-de-France

Theme : The great carnival of Martinique

Colors : Multicolors

6:00 pm to 9:00 pm : Demonstrations of danmyé, (a martial art from Martinique).

Location: Place de la Savane

Theme : Demonstration

Colors : Multicolor

  • Lundi Gras – Shrove Monday  (20 February 2023 March 2023, 2nd day)

4:00 pm : Children’s Parade, Burlesque Wedding Parade, and Parade du Sud

Location : Streets of Fort-de-France

Theme : Burlesque wedding

Colors : White

6:00 pm to 9:00 pm : Demonstrations of danmyé,( a martial art from Martinique).

Location: Place de la Savane

Theme : Demonstration

Colors : White

  • Mardi Gras – Shrove Tuesday, (21 February 2023, 3rd day)

4:00 pm : Red Devil Parade

Theme : ”Vidé” in red

Colors : Red

6:00 pm to 9:00 pm : Demonstrations of danmyé, (a martial art from Martinique). 

Location: Place de la Savane

Theme : Demonstration

Colors : Red

  • Ash Wednesday, (February 22nd 2023, last day)

4:00 pm: Funeral of the Majesty Vaval

Location : Streets of Fort-de-France

Theme : Incineration of his majesty Vaval.

Colors : Black and white

6:00 pm to 9:00 pm : Demonstrations of danmyé, (a martial art from Martinique).

Location: Place de la Savane

Theme : Demonstration

Colors : Black and white

There would be thousands of carnivals across the world but the Martinique Carnival is considered to be one of the most popular and biggest carnivals in the world. There must be some reason for that. So, be a part of it once and you yourself will realize why it is one-of-a-kind.

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