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05/01/2014

The Rara.

The second cultural event of Haiti to make it simple! It’s been one year here that I’m here in Haiti. The first time I couldn’t participate at this even, but for this time it was impossible to miss the Rara. Of course the first even is the carnival but for me the Rara looks much more authentic. You can experiment carnival in divers countries in the Caribbean’s.

It wasn’t so easy to understand the meaning of the Rara. From outside, one month before the Easter weekend 20th of April, all nights you see bands with instruments (trumpet, homemade tuba…) walking on the street, making sounds with a group of people behind them and a wheelbarrow with a cooler in it full of drinks. They walk around on the road, with batteries on another wheelbarrow for the light. Time to time the group stops, one man moves forward with a whip and stroke it with passion and intensity several times. Then the group moves again with the music. If you live along a major street you might hate the months of March and April.

The other inconvenient is if you meet them in a road; you will be stuck for a while, few minutes if you are lucky around an hour if you are not. You have to imagine to meet a group of hundred(s) people, in the middle of a high way singing, dancing, playing music and drinking. The only thing to do is enjoy the music be patient and keep calm.

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Back to the beginning. I try to figure out the origin of that strange (for me at this time) event by asking the native around me. What usually come out is that’s related to Voodoo with no more explanation. As it wasn’t enough for me I started to dig deeper to finally get logical explanation. Apparently this is practiced in parts of Africa (West) so definitely related to the slave nation.

Basically, just before the rainy season farmers call the other farmer in the neighborhood for help, in order to prepare the field. And this represents the trip during the night from their original location to the field who ask for support. So why during the night; simply because they work during the day.

This happens for a period of one month after the carnival. But during the Easter weekend all of the groups gather in the City for a parade. The parade starts around 6pm and the party finish the day after and can run until 10am. This year no incidence was reported.

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For me it was really important to participate at this even to understand as it’s culturally important. For us to be present was an opportunity to deliver basic hygiene promotion messages, realize “hand washing stands” and remind people, mainly child that washing hands can reduce significantly the risk of contamination.

Head of Office in JEN Haiti
Ludovic Blanco

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May 1, 2014 in Haiti |