For the past month, on Sunday nights, thousands of Haitians have been taking to the streets to celebrate Kanaval. The yearly festival is marked by RaRa bands, floats, costumes and parades, and will culminate in a massive celebration in Jacmel on the weekend of February 26th, and another in PAP the following weekend.
David and I went down to a Kanaval celebration in Petionville last Sunday to see what it was all about, and to be honest, it was just a HUGE block party. Music blares on speakers large enough to blow out your eardrums, and Rara bands from local neighborhoods come to play their traditional Vodou music (except not all Rara bands are Vodou, I’ve recently learned). Women pour glasses of homemade klerin (or sugar-cane grain alcohol), for those who don’t have the money to buy a bottle of Haitian rum, and the party goes on until the wee hours of the night.
Ben and I are planning on going to Jacmel for the big celebration just over a week from now to take pictures and shoot video of what is one of the biggest cultural events in Haiti. Because around this time last year the country was still reeling from the earthquake, they didn’t celebrate Kanaval in 2010, so this year is looking to be quite the party. We’ll keep you posted, and, of course, provide you with plenty of pictures.