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French St. Martin / Saint Martin / Gloria Lynn / Painting

Detail from a painting by Gloria Lynn, one of St. Martin's renowned local artists

ST. MARTIN / ST. MAARTEN / Local Culture / Arts / Events

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. Carnaval, 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. Maarten / St. Martin, 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.

Please click
here for a directory of Dutch St. Maarten art galleries and local culture.

Please click
here for a directory of French St. Martin art galleries and local culture.


Jan. 1: New Year's Day. Public holiday. Family day with "at home" festivities

Jan. 6: La Fête des Rois (Epiphany). Old French custom of serving a cake called galette des rois is carried out in most homes.

Jan. 6: FIAC Kayak Race around the island

Jan. 7-18: St. Martin pre carnival events

Jan. 13: Bottom Braquette Mountain Bike Endurance Ride. 4th Diamond Tour 54 Kms

Jan. 17 - 21: St. Maarten - St. Martin Classic Regatta

Jan. 20: Road Runners Picante-Carib Fun Run 10 Kms

February: ECO Fest activities

Feb. 3 : FITA Triple Mini Triathlon

Feb. 3 - 6: Carnaval celebrations on French side. Parades, election of carnival Queen, music. All business comes to a standstill for about 4 days.

Feb. 5: Mardi Gras (Shrove Tuesday). Children's parades

Feb. 6: Ash Wednesday

Feb. 9: Annual Black History Celebration - Exodus Tribute to Bob Marley

Feb. 10: COYC Kayak border to border race

Feb. 16: Avenir Sportif Run Samanna - Marigot 17 Kms

Feb. 17: Bottom Braquette 45 kms / 75 kms / 100 kms Road Race

Feb. 23 - 24: FITA Galion Kids' Triathlon

Feb. 28: Mi-Carême, or Mid-Lent, public holiday. Parades, parties during day-long respite from Lent

Mar. 2: Bottom Braquette 85 kms Team Race

Mar. 6 - 9: Annual Heineken Regattas. Cruising and racing yachts, small multihulls (24-25ft.) and sailing boats (70 ft.) ply the waters of St. Martin in one of the year's most colorful events.

Mar. 8: Women's Day

Mar. 11: FICA Road Bike Trisport Series #1

Mar. 16: Road Runners Subway to Subway (8.5 Kms)

Mar. 17: St. Patrick's Day

Mar. 23: Treaty of Concordia Celebration (Sint Maarten)

Mar. 23: FIAC Kayak - Picante Series - #2 Carib

Mar. 30: FICA Ennia Kid's bike race

Apr. 13: Road Runners' Easter Hash

Apr.17 - May 3: Carnival. Mainly on the Dutch side, but the French side participates as well. "King Moumou" and "Queen of Carnival" are elected. Beauty contests, food competitions, calypso concerts, parades, "jump ups," floats, steel bands and bright costumes. One can visit "Carnival Village" on the Dutch side and see the burning of "King Moumou" at the end of the festivities.

Apr. 19: CSLG Raid Blue Riders

Apr. 22: Earth Day

Apr. 27: FICA Road Bike Trisport Team Time Trial

Apr. 30: Queen's birthday. Public holiday honoring the Queen of Holland, is celebrated on the Dutch & the French side.

May: Captain Oliver's and Carib Beer Regatta

May: St. Martin International Athletic Meet

May 1: Ascension Thursday. Public holiday

May 1: Labor Day. Public holiday on both sides. Picnics and general merrymaking.

May 8: VE Day. Public holiday

May 11: FIAC Fun Event Kayak race

May 11: Pentecost Sunday

May 12: Pentecost Monday or Whit Monday. Public holiday

May 18: Road Runners Lagoon Half Marathon

May 20 - 22: SMART - St. Maarten/St. Martin Annual Regional Tradeshow

May 21-27: Black Heritage week

May 25: Mother's Day

May 25: Bottom Braquette Triathlon X-Terra

May 27: Slavery Abolition Day, public holiday. Picnics, parties

June: Caribbean One Design Keelboat Championships

June: 5th Annual St. Martin book Fair

June 1: FITA Taloula Mango Boardwalk Triathlon

June 1 - 2: Fishing Event " TFE - SHOOT OUT"

June 3: Fishing Event " TFE - MASTER"

June 4 - 8: Fishing Event " TFE - CLASSIC"

June 8: Carib S T Northern Island Swimming Challenge

June 15: Father's Day

June 15: Carib S T Northern Island Swimming Challenge

July 1: COYC Kayak Quicksilver Challenge

July 1: FIAC Kayak 3 Person Sprint Relay

July 1: Emancipation Day

July 8: Ecotourism Day

July 14: Bastille day. French National Holiday, celebrated on both side of the island. Fireworks, parades, sports contests

July 14: Avenir Sportif Bastille Day Run 6 Kms in Marigot

July 20: Road Runners Orient Bay Beach Run

July 20: Grand Case Day

July 21: Schoelcher Day. In honor of Victor Schoelcher, the French parliamentarian who led the campaign against slavery. Boat races at Grand Case, using beautiful Anguillan sailing boats; mini-marathon; island-wide bike race ending up in Grand Case.

July 21-23: 3rd Annual St. Maarten Summerfest. Concerts

July 28-30: 3rd Annual St. Maarten Summerfest. Concerts

Aug. 1-30: Soualigua Festival

Aug. 15: Assumption day. Public holiday

Aug. 17: COYC 17 kms Kayak / Run

Sept. 7: FIAC Kayak Relay around island

Sept. 14: Road Runners Splash and Sprint

Sept. 27: World Tourism Day

Sept. 28: Avenir Sportif 6 Kms and 12 Kms Run around Marigot

Sept. 28: COYC Soualiga Kayak Challenge

Oct. 5: FITA Tetrathlon Run/MTB/Road Run

Oct. 12: Road Runners Cancer Awareness Walk & Run

Oct. 19: Road Runners Fatum 10 Kms

Oct. 19: 6 Hour Swim Team Swimathon

Oct. 21: Antillean Day. Public holiday in Sint Maarten

Oct. 26: FIAC Kayak 3th Carib Picante Series Race 25 Kms

Oct. 31: Halloween

Oct. 31 - Nov. 7: 2nd annual Fête de la Cuisine

November: Course de l'Alliance Regatta. St. Maarten / St. Barth / Anguilla

Nov. 1: Toussaint (All Saints Day). Public holiday. All cemetery tombstones illuminated with candles

Nov. 2: All Souls Day. Public holiday also

Nov. 2: FITA Triathlon Texaco / Low Lands

Nov. 6: Caribbean Tourism Day

Nov. 11: Armistice Day. Public holiday. Commemorates the end of World War I

Nov. 11: St. Maarten Day. Public holiday. Parades and joint ceremony by French and Dutch officials at Border Monument obelisk commemorating long-standing peaceful coexistence of both countries. Tenth-annual 20-mile "Around the Island" race, based on historic folk tale about how the island's two-nation border was established. Also "St. Martin's Day," denoting start of "season."

Nov. 11: Roadrunners Annual Around the Island Relay Race

Nov. 18: FIAC Kayak 4th Carib Picante Series

December: St. Martin Lighting Parade

December: St. Martin Annual Christmas Lights Competition

December: National Day for Thanksgiving, Peace & Consolation

December: Pan in Paradise. Folkloric Steel Pan Concert

December: St. Maarten Charter Yacht Exhibition

Dec. 8: Avenir Sportif 3 Kms Telethon Team Relay

Dec. 13: Avenir Sportif 3 Kms Telethon Team Relay

Dec. 14: COYC Kayak - Pinel / Plum Bay

Dec. 15: Kingdom (of the Netherlands) Day - Holiday

Dec. 20: FITA Kids Galion

Dec. 21: Road Runners Green House 7 Kms run

Dec. 24: Christmas Eve. Dancing, and dining on Créole specialties. Midnight Mass. Réveillon

Dec. 25: Christmas Day. Public holiday. Singing, exchanging of gifts, feasting

Dec. 26: Boxing Day (Sint Maarten). Public holiday

Dec. 28: FICA Ennia Kids Bike Race

Dec. 31: Réveillon de la Saint Sylvestre (New Year's Eve celebration). Noisemakers, balloons, late-night dining and dancing at hotels and restaurants

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Shown Above: Detail from painting by Gloria Lynn © 1995