By Jeané Neal
Ash Wednesday is next week so that means all the bacchanal and partying is going on. Besides Trinidad Carnival and Mardi Gras, the festival is also known as “Kanaval” in Haiti.
The largest part of the Haitian carnival takes place in Port Au Prince, Haiti, while there are also outside celebrations in Jacmel, Aux Cayes and other cities. It is a multiple-week celebration filled with parades, oversized floats and music blasting from them as revelers dance, sing and put on a show for their country. Their costumes are not the typical bra and panty decked in beads and feathers, but it depicts more of their culture and history.
This tradition first started in 1804 and like most Caribbean carnivals it was frowned upon by the Christians. The provocative dancing and kompa music was sinful in their eyes, but it was a tradition that would be passed down from generation and has only grown in mass. In 2010, Haiti suffered a catastrophic earthquake, but that didn’t shake their resilience and passion. They paid their respect and mourned their loss by wearing costumes that reflected the pain and suffering.
However, it would not last long. The Haitian community knew how important this was to their culture and wanted to celebrate life and be grateful for all they have been blessed with, even after the disaster. Thus, Kanaval was reborn! Kanaval also showcases their music: Kompa, which is a national music genre. It gives the artists an opportunity to showcase their music at festivals and on the road. I know I love me some Kompa, yesss.
Fat Tuesday is the last day for all the melè and then Ash Wednesday all goes back to normal until Easter. So many places to be at one time, eh?! I wish I could do Machel Monday and Kes Tuesday in Trinidad, fly to Haiti for a few kompa fetes, go to Fat Monday in New Orleans and fly back to Trinidad for Carnival Tuesday, is that too much to ask?!??
I think not, but the most important question is: who’s paying for my ticket?!?!
Mas is love!
Joie De Vivre <3