For many of us, Kanaval is a time to honor our ancestors, and celebrate our heritage, spirituality and culture. In the weeks leading up to Ash Wednesday, elaborate floats and parades take over the streets with people dressed in costumes, dancing to rhythm of Raboday or marching along a Rara band. Street vendors up and down the parade route hawk street food like fritay, Cola Couronne, energy drinks and ice-cold Prestige beers.
For us, living in Port-au-Prince, all Kanaval roads led to Champs de Mars. Champ de Mars got flooded with people crowding the entire carnival route, eagerly waiting for their favorite artist or band to show up so they can sing and dance along to their new carnival songs. Moments of euphoria would erupt once the floats came into view, washing into Champs de Mars on waves of bass from the sound systems.
Veterans knew to pace themselves over the last three days so that on the final day they could party until sunrise — solèy leve, as we call it.
The most special thing about the our Kanaval is the sense of community it creates. People from all walks of life join in on the celebration and experience a sense of liberation that is not always afforded. We forget about our problems. We are free-spirited. Even if it’s just for a little while.
Listen to the rhythmic medley of vintage and mordern Haitian songs celebrating the free spirited essence of Kanaval season.
Or experience it through visuals.
Flo, her sister Gina, and baby Kora pose for a photo before Flo & Gina head out to Champ de Mars.Popular artist Sweet Micky’s floar arrives at Champs de Mars