Festivals and Events

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Festivals and Events

Martinique's Carnival begins in February, and is not unlike Mardi Gras in New Orleans, or Rio and Trinidad's big parties. There's one major difference: length. Instead of winding down with the close of Shrove Tuesday, the party in Martinique keeps going, reaching its climax the day after, on Ash Wednedsay, one of the most solemn days on the Christian calendar.

About 20 days into Lent there's a mini-Carnival called Mi-carĂªme; this one-day hiatus from abstinence includes a rash of parties and dances before sober times return until Easter.

Early August sees the Tour des Yoles Rondes point-to-point yawl race.

In odd-numbered years, the early-December Martinique Jazz Festival draws a wide range of international talent, including such top performers as Branford Marsalis.

Deep-sea fishing aficionados can discover the thrill of reeling in a prize catch at the Le Marin International Sportfishing Tournament in late October.

Topping the list of the island's food festivals is the Sainte-Marie Culinary Week, held each spring. The weeklong celebration in this small, northern coastal town celebrates Martinique's unique gastronomy, which combines the best of traditional French cuisine with Creole flavors.

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