At the ACS summit that has been going on in Haiti, the newly elected President of the Dominican Republic met President Martelly for talks on bilateral issues. One of the major issues discussed and resolved has been the long pending case of Haitian’s working in the Dominican Republic without any identity papers. While the Haitian President assured that process of providing identity documents to all Haitian’s had started, the Dominican counterpart assured giving working visas for such persons to work in the Dominican Republic. Other issues discussed were related to trade and environment. Overall the meeting has been termed as fruitful by both heads of state.
The President of Chile presently in Haiti for the 5th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Association of Caribbean States, ACS visited the devastated École République du Chili school site. This had been built by the government of Chile to provide education to children of Haiti and Chile nationals who worked in Haiti. The earthquake of January 2010 had reduced the building to rubble. The Chilean President announced that reconstruction work would start in October to get back a better building than before. He stated that the importance of such institutions could not be comprised if a nation had to grow.
Are you prepared for Haiti Carnival 2014?
Haiti is a picturesque country in the Caribbean that is full of joy, beauty and colors. Adorned with scenic landscapes and sandy beaches, the land is a tourist’s paradise. Apart from basking in the sun and enjoying the cool waters of the seas, there are several things to do in this beautiful country. Haiti is well known for its colorful carnivals, the chief among them being the annually held Haiti Carnival.
The much awaited Haiti Carnival 2014 offer an invitation to everyone to come and participate in the revelry and enjoy themselves. In 2014, the celebrations will be held at Gonaives. The theme for the event is yet to be specified. This is the 3rd time when the Haitian Carnival is not being held in the capital. Before this, in 2013, it was held in Cap-Haitian and in 2012, it was held at Les Cayes.
The beautiful country of Haiti is widely popular for its fun-filled extravagant carnivals that are equally popular now as they were several decades ago. The celebrations have been maintained very well in the country and it is also increasingly becoming popular in the rest of the world as well such as Toronto, London and New York City. According to some observations while carnival might be fading away in some of the Caribbean countries due to political organization and force, it has somehow remained prevalent in the country of Haiti.
A brief History of Carnival
The word ‘Carnival’ has its origin in the Catholic religion in the country of Italy. The members of this religion started a tradition that was conducted before the day of Lent. As Lent is regarded as a time to abstain from food, adopt conservatism and abandon gluttony, the time before that was seen as an opportunity to indulge in fancy costumes and food. The carnival celebrations started to spread to other countries in Europe such as Spain, Portugal and France and as these countries started gaining control over the Caribbean, America and other parts of the world, the celebrations too continued to spread.
Carnaval Haiti: How it Started
The Haitian Carnival derives its meaning and tradition from age-old Christian beliefs and practices. While a carnival comprises a great deal of music, dance and costumes, the true purpose of the event lies in its ability to enable people to express their beliefs, ideas and creativity both locally and internationally.
Carnival in the country of Haiti started with the slave owners who engaged in it exclusively until 1804 after which it was adopted by the liberated slaves who used it for their own needs. The carnival season starts in January. This is referred to as Pre-Kanaval. The main celebrations start in February every year. It ends on Mardi Gras, a French word which means “Fat Tuesday”. This is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday which marks the start of the Lenten season that precedes Easter.
Kanaval Haiti comes dotted with art, costume, song and dance that carries significant symbolic meanings. This annual celebration is marked by dances on streets by the residents. These celebrations generally happen during the Carnival season. This is two weeks before Lent. This is also a time for gluttony. It is based on the belief that all stored food must be finished off before Lent so that it does not go waste after the festival. Wearing exotic costumes the revelers engage in elaborate partying.
The celebrations enabled people to engage in the various pleasures of life before the beginning of the somber period of penance and fasting. The carnival is influenced largely by several local customs and Haitian music.
The Haitian Carnival is held over many weeks every year and it leads up to Mardi Gras. The Haitian Creole name of the annual carnival is Haitian Defile Kanaval. The largest carnival is held in the largest city of the country, the capital Port-au-Prince. Several smaller celebrations take place simultaneously in different areas in Hiati such as Aux, Jacmel and Cayes.
The annual celebration in the country coincide with the other Mardi Gras celebrations the world over. The country also has many small carnivals throughout the year that are separate from the main annual one. One of this is Rara. It is a series of processions, which take place at the time of the Catholic Lent Season. It also has parades and bands that resemble the main carnival. There is also another annual carnival Kanaval de Fleur, which happens in July.
Thousands of tourists flock from all parts of the world to enjoy Live Carnaval Haiti. Initially these festivities were regarded as “sinful” by protestant Haitians. They were also asked by their ministers to refrain from participating in the same. The carnival was criticized for encouraging wild dancing, anti-establishment music lyrics, plays mocking the government and the like. The Haitian Carnival were curtailed by the devastating 2010 earthquake. However, it still happened in a subdued scale and it continued successfully in the subsequent years.
Features of the Carnival
The carnival presents a joyous celebration of music and culture. It is the biggest celebration in the country and one of the largest and most exuberant in the Caribbean. In a country that is often engaged in political upheavals, the celebrations reveal the political scenario of the country. At times, they have been known to predict the fate of the government as well.
Carnaval Haiti have certain features which range from the costumes they wear to the music they play. It takes several weeks of hard work to put together a carnival band. The lavish celebrations are funded by businesses, government and rich Haitian families. A lot of energy, creativity and patience go into creating all the stunning things. All this work happens in what is termed as “mas camps”. Organization and teamwork are the pre-requisites to help create a splendid production.
The costumes that are worn during the event are huge and often require a lot of energy and time to make the same. Often times they are made by bending some wires into shapes. They are then covered with foam or paper mache. Care is taken to make them strong and sturdy to be able to withstand the long hours of celebration. Extremely creative masks are often part of the elaborate costumes. These masks transform the physical as well as the psychic personality of the wearer.
Music is one of the most important ingredients of the Haiti Kanaval 2014. Musicians generally engage in a wide range of genres including Haitian rap, zouk, Compas music, and mizik rasin. This is the biggest annual event and this is where the bands get extensive public exposure. This is an opportunity to perform at big concerts. There are also competitions that are held among several bands.
Music bands have over 100 members who practice for several months for the carnival. Most of them engage in wild dance as they parade the streets. These are some of the observable elements of the carnival that splash color and life on the streets of Haiti.
Some of the artists slated to perform in Haiti Kanaval 2014 include some well known and widely popular names such as Harmonik, T-Vice, Carimi, Kreyol La, Djakout, Zenglen, Nu-Look, Disip. They are expected to enthrall the audience with their spellbinding performance. Their music videos are on the verge of release and can be expected to be widely received well by one and all. As in the past, this year too many more artists are expected to perform and give the audience a great time.
The Kanaval Haiti live parades comprise floats that sometimes also have children participating in the same. They generally have sound systems that are set up on trucks. They play music while the crowds dance on the streets. The colorful parades make their way all through the streets of the capital city and conclude with the celebrations at Champ De Mars that is situated close to the former residence of the president of Haiti.
Food & Shows
Several food stalls selling a variety of fares are a popular part of the Haitian Carnaval. Another feature of the celebrations is comedy shows that are performed by carnival participants. These generally make fun of political topics. One can partake of some of the best local as well as some international delicacies in these stalls. It is an excellent show of the immense creativity of the Haitians.
One more feature of the celebrations is the one-on-one fights that are conducted between young men of the country. They are referred to as ‘gagann’. In this the combatants, who are surrounded by supporters, aim to put the opponent down by blows on the chest.
Haiti Carnival 2014 is one festival that no one can afford to miss. Rich in culture every year it offers an excellent time to celebrate and have a great time. Every day of the festival has something new to offer to the audience. The mind-blowing creativity of the artists always leave the audience spell-bound. Though after being hit by the earthquake the celebrations had decreased, the country is again looking to restore its former glory.
Are you prepared for Haiti Carnival 2014?
President Michelle Martelly announced the Haiti Carnival 2014 in Gonaives this March 2nd, 3rd, and 4th
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At the fifth Summit of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) event currently underway in Haiti, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Honduras along with other delegates from the country met their counterpart in Haiti. Discussions held between the two parties led to signing of an agreement for bilateral cooperation. Developmental projects underway in the two countries would be jointly carried out by both. These would include projects dealing with environment, capacity building and averting natural calamities. The projects would also be defined and prioritized after mutual discussion is what was decided. Poverty reduction in both countries was also discussed and agreed upon to find common methods to alleviate.
The 5th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) ended on 26 April with saw participation from almost all participating nations. Delegates from 29 countries could make it to the event while only six heads of states were unable to be present due unforeseen commitments. All members present were of the view that the main agenda of the summit had been achieved successfully. That 29 countries had been represented by delegates was a record of sorts and Haiti has been given its due credit for having been able to evince this large presence.
A health campaign against Tetanus has been launched in Haiti by the Minister of Health and Population Dr. Florence Duperval Guillaume, over the weekend. Delegates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as those from UNICEF were also present. The program would end on 5th of May. A total of 240,000 babies are targeted to be given this protection against the lethal disease. Haiti at present has the highest rate of child mortality in the world. This campaign and similar ones in future is expected to stem this trend. PAHO/WHO Director Carissa F. Etienne applauded the political will of Haiti to make such campaigns a success.
Haiti has recently witnessed the process where laws have been enacted which brings in transparency to the recruitment process. It is by competitive methods where the best would be selected for posts both government and private being carried out in Haiti now. To this effect workshop was held by the Coordinator of Public Services to explain the process that has been implemented. It would now be only merit of the candidate based on which recruitment would take place. The workshop discussed the process how vacancies would be declared and the recruitment process take place for that number.
For the period of June 2011 to April, 2013 there had been a huge arrears of telephone bills which had built up. National Council of Telecommunications has announced the collection of $ 50,406,684.81 towards this effect. Phone companies had been asked to pay up the arrear of amount that were due to them. This money was supposed to be used for setting up educational infrastructure of Haiti. However the bill which would clear the path of this transfer of funds to the Education ministry has not yet been passed by the Parliament. There is yet a large amount of outstanding bills that has to be collected.
A conference organized by Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Private Sector Economic Forum was held at the Hotel Karibe yesterday. The focus for the discussion was for working out means to boost private investment in Haiti. The President, Prime Minister and Minister for Economy and Finance were present at the conference. The President expressed his gratitude to the Private sector people for their contribution towards Haiti’s economic growth. Delegates from Seychelles and Mauritius were also there who spoke favorably about their involvement in the Haitian economic affairs. The commitment of the present Haitian government to ensure rapid progress in this field was what the speakers reiterated.
Programs that the Ministry of Social Affairs has lined up in their plans were replied to by the Minister Charles Jean Jacques. He mentioned about the program being implemented in two parts. The first part would be Social assistance and the second would be social protection. Community restaurants and bakeries would be constructed across the country in this program, he stated. For the protection phase, houses and health insurance facilities would be established in the country. The final date of implementation of both the programs is September 2013, as per the Minister. Budget allocation for the program had also been done from what the Ministry had been allotted in total.