Martiniquais - Religion and Expressive Culture

Religious Beliefs. The vast majority of Martiniquais, both in Fort-de-France and throughout the island, consider themselves Catholic, although a rapidly declining proportion consider themselves "practicing" Catholics. Since the early 1970s, a small but increasing number of people have been shifting their religious affiliation to become Evangelists, Adventists, and Jehovah's Witnesses. In addition, there is a Muslim following among the minority population of Middle Easterners from Syria and Lebanon.

Martiniquais of all social classes also embrace many non-Christian beliefs, for example, in the power of sorcery. In contrast to sorcerers who are hired to inflict harm, shamans and folk healers generally are recruited to help people solve a variety of health and psychological problems.

Ceremonies. Catholic holy days are observed in Martinique, as are numerous locally distinct ritual events and traditional ceremonies including funeral rites, Chanté Noël at Christmas, and Mardi Gras.

Arts. Martiniquais society has a strong artistic tradition that has produced gifted, internationally recognized literary talents. Other creative and popular traditions include public storytelling, music and dance, costumes, and cuisine.

Medicine. Most urban dwellers prefer to treat serious illnesses and injuries at local clinics or hospitals, although herbal medicines and shaman healers are also recognized as effective sources of treatment for many health and personal problems.

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