Monday, February 18, 2013

Celebrations

Haitians know how to throw a party, and this month has been full of them.

February 2nd was the Feast of Our Lady of Light (or in Creole: Fet Lachandle) which is the Catholic church here in Gros-Morne. Yet the celebrating was not just for the Catholics. Our main street was suddenly bursting with merchants who have traveled from all over the country and pilgrims who slept in the church courtyard. Our church was brimming every night for a nine day novena and well-known priests and bishops from Port-au-Prince led some services.
Novena
There were live bands (Tropicano!), dance trucks in the streets, and even UN soldiers who were invited to "keep the peace" with such large crowds.
Yeah, I creeped.
We were invited one night to the anniversary party of the local television and radio station. The television station turned 2 and the radio station turned 7. Upon arriving we realized we were completely out of our league. We were escorted to our seats and sat among men in double-breasted suits and women in full-length prom gowns. The speeches were in French, there were performances by well-known local and international artists, and sitting on the main table was a 3-foot bottle of whiskey. They even had a recorded-applause button.

We celebrated Barack's birthday:
Blowing out candles with his family




Last weekend was Kanaval (Mardi Gras/Carnival) where the main celebration was up north in a coastal town called Cap-Haitian (OKap) and here in town people celebrated by following a giant truck loaded with speakers, dancing down the street.

And of course there was Valentine's Day!

There were no jumbo-sized teddy bears, flower deliveries, or heart-shaped boxes of chocolate. Instead people wished each other "Bon Fet," sent text messages that read "long live true love" and the local high school had a program on the basketball court complete with love song karaoke.

Aileen did a great activity at the school where the kids colored valentines. 
"Happy Valentine's Day" is "Bon Fet Sen Valanten"

Can't even handle her sass.
And then I turned 23. Aileen made some awesome brownies and gave me fake purple hanging flowers (it's what all the cool Haitians use to decorate). Laurie supplied Life of Pi for us to watch and they both treated me to dinner at the river bar, making it a great birthday.
Birthday!



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