Like any très chic exotic beauty, Martinique enjoys an active and exciting social schedule year after year. Of course 2014 is no exception, with a series of unique cultural, sporting and music events planned to delight visitors and locals alike. Among the more prominent events taking place in Martinique in 2014 are the following:
March 2-5, 2014 – Carnival
From Rio to Trinidad to New Orleans, the world’s most celebrated pre-Lenten Carnival fetes all pale in comparison to Martinique’s Carnival in one key area – length. Each year as revelers in other Carnival hot spots wind down with the close of Shrove Tuesday, the party in Martinique keeps going, reaching a decadent climax on one of the most solemn days on the Christian calendar, Ash Wednesday. The fitting theme for Martinique’s “bonus” days of revelry – “Rejoice Today, Repent Tomorrow.”
April 19-21, 2014 – Carifta Games
Martinique will host the 43rd Carifta Games.
The CARIFTA Games, the annual athletics competition founded by the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) will be held in Martinique, from April 18th to April 21st 2014.
Martinique has participated in the CARIFTA GAMES since 1976 and has hosted this four times since its inception. The game’s history dates back to 1972 and consists of track and field events including sprint races, hurdles, middle distance track events, jumping and throwing events, and relays. The games have two age categories: under-17 and under-20. Gathering the best young athletes of 28 nations in the Caribbean, this competition helps propel these athletes onto the international stage and to rank among world champions.
This event is an outstanding opportunity to talk about Martinique in a positive way throughout the Caribbean and promote the island through one of the best mediums that exist – sports. The CARIFTA Games is an exceptional way to connect Martinique with all participating islands and nations of the Caribbean, such as Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana in South America and Belize in Central America.
May – May in Saint Pierre
Formerly known as the Paris of the Caribbean, the northern coastal town of Saint Pierre was instantly transformed into the Pompeii of the Caribbean when on May 8, 1902 Mount Pelee erupted. Out of the centuries-old destruction Saint Pierre has emerged a quaint yet vibrant town, offering visitors a unique view of the island’s storied past. The May in Saint Pierre event commemorates the anniversary of the eruption with a series of lectures, presentations and guided tours offering greater insight into this historic event.
May – Sainte Marie Culinary Week
Martinique shares, with distinctive panache, mainland France’s love for gastronomy. One of the best expressions of this passion occurs each year during Sainte-Marie Culinary Week, a weeklong festival celebrating Martinique’s unique gastronomic heritage and traditions. At the center of the festivities is a cooking competition. Each year, several local food products are chosen for competing chefs to use as the centerpiece of their culinary creations. The competition extends throughout the week, with special dinners, cooking demonstrations, a street fair and more providing an in-depth introduction to Martinique’s culinary scene.
June 21st – Fête de la Musique
Some of the world’s greatest musical forms hail from the Caribbean, with reggae (Jamaica) and calypso (Trinidad) the most widely known, but true music lovers know that Martinique also ranks among the music capitals of the region. Martinique is the birthplace of Zouk, a rhythmic musical form developed in the 1980′s through a mix of many different styles, including compas, balakadri, cadence and bal granmoun, mazurka and biguine, French and American pop, and kadans, gwo ka and other indigenous styles. La Fête de la Musique is a celebration of Martinique’s rich musical tradition with free concerts performed in the streets throughout the island.
July – 30th Edition of the Martinique Yoles Boat Race Tour
Festivities are to the Caribbean as fish are to the sea – one simply cannot exist without the other. In Martinique, the analogy is taken one step further when “la fête” and sea are brought together for a celebration unlike any other, the famed Yoles Boat Race (Tour des Yoles Rondes). A yearly highlight of the Martinican social calendar, the Martinique Yoles Boat Race Tour will celebrate its 30th edition between July 27 and August 3 2014, literally encircling the Isle of Flowers with the boundless spirit of carnival, replete with pulsating rhythms, prodigious libations and nonstop parties.
July – Le Tour de Martinique
Le Tour de Martinique is a smaller version of the famed Le Tour de France bicycle race. Just like its larger cousin, Le Tour de Martinique is held each summer and features and international field of riders competing in stages. The race reaches virtually every corner of the island, with fans and spectators lining the day’s route to offer cheers and support.
November – La Belle Martinique
Less competitive than Le Tour de Martinique, this amateur cycling race is ideal for recreational riders seeking an alternate way to tour The Isle of Flowers. Local as well as visiting riders participate annually, with crowds lining the course each day.
November-December – Martinique Jazz Festival
The Caribbean’s longest running jazz festival; the Martinique Jazz Festival has long provided a showcase for local and international artists to share their talents with a lively and appreciative crowd of music lovers from all corners of the globe. Jazz luminaries who have performed at the Martinique Jazz Festival in years past include the Marsalis brothers, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Paquito d’Rivera, Chucho Valdes, and many more.