Destination Haitian Carnaval

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Carnival in Haiti is a time for people to assemble to parade, sing, dance, amuse themselves, let go; a time when society accepts any and almost all kinds of behavior. Coming as it does before Lent, a time for penitence and sacrifice, people traditionally used holiday – three days long in Haiti since a decree of President Stenio Vincent during the first U.S. occupation – to release inhibitions and satisfy pent-up desires so they could avoid temptation later. Psychologists and sociologists see it as a kind of equilibrating period necessary to make up for the interdictions and rules of society and of the church which hold during the rest of the year, because no matter what one’s class or social standing, everyone is supposedly thrown together to revel.

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