St. Martin/St. Maarten Events, Calendar

St. Martin, Saint Martin, Sint Maarten, St. Marteen, local events, culture, carnival, calendar, holidays
Copyright © John Smith, All Rights Reserved.

Dutch, French and West Indian cultures have come together on this one small island. Several museums trace the history of the area from the island's original Indian inhabitants through the development of sugar cane plantations and rum production.

Carnival, with its parades, costumes and dancing is celebrated as a pre-Lenten festival on the French side, culminating on Ash Wednesday each year. On the Dutch side, Carnival is held after Easter, offering visitors a second opportunity to enjoy the usual island-style merrymaking.

Numerous poets, playwrights and writers reside in St. Martin / St. Maarten, drawing upon the history and culture of this and other nearby islands for their inspiration. Art galleries offer painting, sculpture and lithography by talented local artists and immigrés. Much of their work reflects the natural beauty of the island and its people.

The island’s local culture is diverse and well-developed, enjoying contributions from the French, Dutch, and other European nations as well as from the African and east Indian roots of many of its citizens. Colorful festivals are held throughout the year and performances of traditional music and dance are regularly scheduled. Art galleries, museums and fascinating historical sites abound. A general guide to many annual events appears below. For specific dates and details, contact the island's Tourist Offices.

ST. MARTIN / ST. MAARTEN HOLIDAYS and SPECIAL EVENTS

On Public Holidays, government offices, banks, and most businesses are closed.

JANUARY

New Year's Day (Public Holiday)

Tuesdays in Grand-Case. Mid-January to mid-April. Food, music and local arts & crafts take over the main street from 18:00 - 22:00 each Tuesday evening.

Women's International Tennis Tournament is held annually at the Alberic Richards Stadium.

Salsa Festival. First annual dance event at the Radisson Blue Resort.

Carnival on the French side. Begins in early January on the French side and continues through the culmination of Carnival on Ash Wednesday each year. Various activities; contact Tourist Office for details.

Artist's Corner. This exhibition in the lobby of the community hall in Marigot showcases the work of local artists. Two exhibitions are held each month, September through June, and each begins with an opportunity to meet the featured artist.

FEBRUARY / MARCH / APRIL (dates vary each year with the Easter Holiday)

Carnival on the French side. 5 days of parties, parades and costumed revelers in the streets, culminating on Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras in the US).

Ash Wednesday. Culmination of Carnival, with final parade and Burning of King Carnival, Vival, on a funeral pyre.

Easter Monday. Day after Easter. Public Holiday.

FEBRUARY

We Agree with Culture. Annual agricultural fair at Garden of Bellevue honors Caribbean folklore, culture, and arts through a variety of activities. Free.

Thursdays on the Marina. Beginning the first Thursday in February at the Port La Royale Marina in Marigot. Live music, fashion shows, various entertainment, arts & crafts all day and into the evening.

Arrowroot Jollification. A two day festival held in Colombier the last weekend of February. Attendees participate in the traditional process harvesting and processing of arrowroot (cassava), a staple of island cuisine. Juices and soups available throughout the day.

Tuesdays in Grand-Case. Mid-January to mid-April. Food, music and local arts & crafts take over the main street from 18:00 - 22:00 each Tuesday evening.

Artist's Corner. This exhibition in the lobby of the community hall in Marigot showcases the work of local artists. Two exhibitions are held each month, September through June, and each begins with an opportunity to meet the featured artist.

MARCH

Heineken Regatta. First weekend in March. Hundreds of participants spend a long weekend enjoying world class entertainment and competition between racing sailboats from around the world. Since 1980, one of the island's biggest events has become one of the Caribbean's largest regattas. Billed as "Serious Fun" for all!

Week-End Art Lovers. The island's painters, sculptors and other artisans host open houses and gallery shows that allow for interaction between art lovers and art creators.

Tuesdays in Grand-Case. Mid-January to mid-April. Food, music and local arts & crafts take over the main street from 18:00 - 22:00 each Tuesday evening.

Thursdays on the Marina. Port La Royale Marina in Marigot. Live music, fashion shows, various entertainment, arts & crafts, all day and into the evening.

Artist's Corner. This exhibition in the lobby of the community hall in Marigot showcases the work of local artists. Two exhibitions are held each month, September through June, and each begins with an opportunity to meet the featured artist.

APRIL

Carnival on the Dutch Side. Running throughout April, with parades and events on the streets of Phillipsburg. Check with the Tourist Office for schedule and details.

Tuesdays in Grand-Case. Mid-January to mid-April. Food, music and local arts & crafts take over the main street from 18:00 - 22:00 each Tuesday evening.

Queen's Birthday. April 30. Public Holiday on the Dutch and French sides of the island.

Artist's Corner. This exhibition in the lobby of the community hall in Marigot showcases the work of local artists. Two exhibitions are held each month, September through June, and each begins with an opportunity to meet the featured artist.

MAY

Labor Day. Public Holiday on May 1

Victory in Europe Day. Public Holiday on May 8

Ascension Thursday. Public Holiday. Date varies.

Fish Day. Fish is celebrated and prepared in many ways in the village of Cul-de-Sac. Entertainment.

EcoTourism Days. Leisure activity and nature discovery organizations gather for two days in the Bellevue area to celebrate St. Martin's land and water sports. Food and entertainment.

Fête du Nautisme / Water Sports Festival. Free boat rides and festival celebrating the sea and what it offers in terms of leisure, sports and economic activities. Fort Louis marina.

International Meeting of St. Martin. This event brings the Caribbean track and field season to a close each year. High level competition features the best athletes from the islands.

QuickSilver King of the Groms. An international qualifying competition for young surfers.

Black Heritage Week / Emancipation Day. May 27. A week-long celebration around May 27, commemorating the abolition of slavery in St. Martin. Programs in Marigot, St. Louis and Colombier.

Artist's Corner. This exhibition in the lobby of the community hall in Marigot showcases the work of local artists. Two exhibitions are held each month, September through June, and each begins with an opportunity to meet the featured artist.

JUNE

The Billfish Tournament. Annual game fishing competition held for several days each June, sponsored by the International Fishing Federations. Professional fishermen from the Caribbean and Europe compete. Numerous events.

Music Festival. A weekend celebration of local and world music by amateurs and professionals on the waterfront in Marigot. Free.

Artist's Corner. This exhibition in the lobby of the community hall in Marigot showcases the work of local artists. Two exhibitions are held each month, September through June, and each begins with an opportunity to meet the featured artist.

JULY

Colombier Day. First Sunday of July. Honors historical figures and the community's cultural heritage. Includes a unique "most beautiful ram goat" contest.

Fête Nationale / Bastille Day. Public Holiday on July 14. Pageants, parades, fireworks, sports and cultural events.

Victor Schoelcher Day. Public Holiday on July 21. Honors abolitionist and French parliamentarian Victor Schoelcher who led the campaign against slavery.

Fête de Grand-Case. Held in conjunction with Victor Schoelcher Day. Religious and military ceremonies, canoe and boat races between St. Martin and Anguilla, bicycle race, traditional games and musical entertainment.

St. Maarten Summerfest Concerts.

AUGUST

Assumption Day. Public Holiday. August 15

Sandy-Ground Festival. Held on Assumption day; celebrates traditional games, music and cuisine.

August Film Festival. Free open air movies on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Program travels to different towns each weekend of the month.

SEPTEMBER

Artist's Corner. This exhibition in the lobby of the community hall in Marigot showcases the work of local artists. Two exhibitions are held each month, September through June, and each begins with an opportunity to meet the featured artist.

World Tourism Day. Organized around a central theme each year, this annual event is held on both sides of the island each September 27 as a tribute to world tourism.

OCTOBER

Fête de la Cuisine. A week-long celebration of food and wine.

Artist's Corner. This exhibition in the lobby of the community hall in Marigot showcases the work of local artists. Two exhibitions are held each month, September through June, and each begins with an opportunity to meet the featured artist.

NOVEMBER

All Saints Day. Public Holiday. November 1

Armistice Day. Public Holiday. Parades. November 11

St. Martin / St. Maarten Day. November 11. Celebrates Columbus' discovery of St. Martin / Maarten in 1493. Official ceremonies alternate between French and Dutch sides of the island annually. Music, dance, and other entertainment throughout the island.

St. Martin Calypso Show. Local groups celebrate calypso music in the village of French Quarter.

Concordia Cup. Annual competition between the French and Dutch sides' golfers. Mullet Bay.

Art Lovers Exhibition. Three day exhibit in mid-November at the Radisson Blu Resort.

Beaujolais Nouveau. Annual wine tasting event in bars and restaurants to celebrate the release of this young wine on the third Thursday in November.

La Course de l'Alliance. This three day regatta is held annually to strengthen the alliance among St. Martin / St. Maarten, St. Barth, and Anguilla. Contact St. Maarten Yacht Club for details.

Sip & Chat Friday. An evening kick-off to the Christmas season organized by the St. Martin Tourist Office. Traditional music and food on the Marigot waterfront.

Artist's Corner. This exhibition in the lobby of the community hall in Marigot showcases the work of local artists. Two exhibitions are held each month, September through June, and each begins with an opportunity to meet the featured artist.

DECEMBER

Caribbean Nations MX Cup. Motocross competitors from numerous islands compete annually for the Caribbean's most prestigious MX prizes.

Maison du Père Noël / Christmas House. A private residence in Cripple Gate on the French side features spectacular holiday lights and decorations. The public is welcome to enjoy the displays and caroling. Refreshments available. Open every evening from 18:00 to 21:00, December 1 - January 15.

Christmas Serenades. Every Tuesday and Friday evening in December, local groups perform holiday songs of the season on the streets in various communities.

Miss Caraïbes Hibiscus. Originated in St. Martin over 20 years ago, this annual beauty pageant draws entrants from all over the Caribbean region each December for several days of events culminating in selection of the year's winner.

A Traditional Christmas at the Tourist Office. The St. Martin Tourist Office located on Route de Sandy Ground invites you to enjoy traditional holiday music and food. Experience local cultural experience on two days (usually the Fridays prior to Christmas) at the Tourist Office. On the island, phone 0590 87 57 21 for details.

Various Christmas Events. If you'll be in St. Martin / St. Maarten during December, there are numerous opportunities to celebrate Christmas island-style, including The Christmas Village and a lighted floats parade in Grand-Case; the Howell Center celebration in Marigot; the Marigot Christmas Folies with parades, giant puppets, music and holiday markets; shop window competition in Marigot; and the SOS Radio Station Christmas Party in Marigot, which offers an opportunity to taste traditional holiday dishes, among others. Contact the St. Martin / St. Maarten Tourist Offices for details.

Christmas Day. December 25. Public Holiday

Réveillon de la Saint Sylvestre / New Year's Eve celebrations, including fireworks on the Marigot waterfront. December 31
French Caribbean Map with St. Martin, St. Barts, St. Barth, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Les Saintes and Marie-Galante

Photo © 2002-2013 Gerald Hill / Used by Permission.



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