Jwaye Kanaval! Happy Carnival!
Carnival is celebrated all across Latin America and the United States – every year thousands of people head to New Orleans for its Mardi Gras celebration. Mardi Gras, meaning Fat Tuesday, otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday, is celebrated every year before Ash Wednesday.
In Haiti, “Kanaval” is one of the most anticipated events in the country. Every year, the capital city of Port-au-Prince closes off main roads and erects colorfully decorated stands along the parade path. While there are weeks of lead up celebrations, the main event is held on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Elaborate floats, ornate costumes, rhythmic music and nonstop dancing encompass the richness and beauty of Haitian culture.
The Kanaval festivities began yesterday at Pwoje Espwa, as the children received an early dismissal. Follow the rolling beat of the music and you could find them gathered in the Teen Boys’ Village, where they challenged each other in sack races, hopped flawlessly underneath jump ropes, and participated in many other fun games.
Today, schools and businesses across the country will be closed for the national holiday – and the festivities will continue at Pwoje Espwa!