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Martinique and its people

The people of Martinique are proud of their cultural and historical heritage and uphold the value of authenticity in their everyday living. From fishing to agriculture, through wildlife and flora to traditional songs and dance, everything is exotic and charming.

Set, or fishing in accord

Fishermen in Martinique pulling their net

This artisan fishing practice carried out on the Caribbean coast (Case Pilote, Carbet, Bellefontaine, Saint-Pierre, Anses d’Arlet, etc.) is a fishing method based on mutual assistance and sharing. Along a beach, fishermen pull a seine, a net that is 200 to 700 meters long and 3 to 4 meters wide, whose distinctive characteristic is that it is deployed along beaches. Fishermen are leaders not only of a seine, but also of the spectators gathered for the occasion. Mainly locals, but also tourists, help pull up the seine and share a singular and exciting moment. Half of the catch goes to the owner of the net, while the rest is shared among participants.

Lassotè, farming together

This tradition, derived from marooning (settlement for slaves that ran away from the plantation) in the North Caribbean area, consists in plowing the soil in solidarity to make it more fertile, punctuated by the rumbling of drums. Two types of music accompany the workers: Mason or Gran-son depending on whether the soil is ploughed from top to bottom to make furrows or from bottom to top for periodic tilling. The musicians face the workers and move as work progresses. Mechanization has made this practice rare, but some people are still attached to it and carry on the practice.

Bèlè, "communion" through dance and song

Bélè dancing in Martinique

It has its origins in slavery, a period during which slaves were forbidden from speaking their language, playing their own music or practicing their religion. Two rudimentary instruments: the drum (boards from oak barrels that had been used to age rum) and Ti Bwa (2 pieces of wood for beating the back of the drum). Songs are in Creole and themes touch upon societal issues. Bèlé can be danced alone, in a group or in a square. Bèlè parties, organized in the past by elders, are now organized by younger people who integrate modern instruments such as the guitar and saxophone. This tradition will not be disappearing any time soon.

Traditional markets, a way to experience the real Martinique

Fort-de-France market

Each town or commune has one or several markets actively frequented by natives of Martinique who come to buy spices, fruits, vegetables, fish, flowers and meat. Tourists can also find souvenirs and madras fabrics here. Most often you can also find breakfast here: TI NAIN MORUE OR MACADAM and fresh products. The development of organic farming in Martinique has led to the setting up of organic produce markets such as that of Fond Saint-Denis or Bois Rouge in Ducos.