Pâques (‘Easter’) in France bears many resemblances to British and American celebrations of the festival, with its lamb dinner on Easter Sunday and the popular tradition of painting and eating Easter eggs. However, in the tropical climate of the overseas territory, Martinique, things are done very differently, with both the Lent period and the Easter weekend revolving around le matoutou, or ‘land crab’. The hunt for this creature, which is also called le matété in the Créole of Guadeloupe, begins on 15th February every year, when zatraps (‘traps’) are set to catch the crabs.

During the whole of Lent, the inhabitants of the island enjoy events such as La Crabe d’Or, matoutou curry making competition, and La Patte d’Or, where Martinicans gather to watch crab racing!
On Good Friday, people normally attend mass, or visit a local Calvaire, in a hike which traces the stations of the cross. The rest of the weekend is often spent on the beach, enjoying delicious dishes such as meat barbecues or accra (cod fritters). However, the star of the show is, of course, the crab, which is eaten on the Monday, in a curry sauce, with rice and vegetables such as breadfruit, yam, dasheen and sweet potato. Maybe this Easter, if you fancy a change, you should forget about your traditional roast dinner and try making this exotic dish?

Click HERE to discover more French traditions.

People in Martinique racing crabs