A colorful “Student Carnival” for the 350 years of Cap-Haitien

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Cap-Haitien, the second largest city in the Republic of Haiti, celebrates its 350th anniversary this year 2020. This year also coincides with the bicentenary of the death of King Henri Christophe, builder of the Citadelle, this important historical and tourist site in the North Department of Haiti.

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Indeed, the carnival period spread over five days due to this double commemoration. The children opened carnival on Thursday, February 20 in the city called “Cité Christophienne”. As usual, during the carnival festivities in Haiti on the Friday preceding the three Fat days coincide with the “Student Carnival”. In Cap-Haitian, for this historic commemoration, students from various schools in the city were shining brightly in the parade. Historical costumes, typical traditional masks and special costumes dressed the carnival lovers.

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Symbolic representations

During this carnival, the artistic committee reserved a place of honour for cultural expressions in this year’s carnival convoy. Thus we saw parading the deities representing the 21 nations of the Vodou pantheon. In addition, the Bizango army was represented by a group of 90 people, the King’s Court, the traditional Lakous by 60 people. The Milokan cultural group highlights the great civilizations that marked human history. Two of the three floats which were part of the parade drew a parallel between the present and the past of the city of Cap-Haitien while the third represented its future.

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Historical reminiscences

Carnival activities this year in Cap-Haitien bears the imprint of the celebration of the 350 years of the city’s founding and the commemoration of the 200 years of the death of King Henri I. Indeed, the carnival convoy of the 3 Fat days was rich in historical reminiscences related to this double event: 7 groups of 50 people paraded to represent the 350 years of Cap- Haitian and 4 groups of 50 to materialize the 200 years of the death of King Henri Christophe whose court was also represented by a group of 150 people.

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