Traditional Haitian Dance: Rara

The phenomenon of Rara is both fun and profound. It is at once a season, a festival, a genre of music, a religious ritual, a form of dance, and sometimes a technique of political protest.
— Elizabeth McAlister- Smithsonian

Haitian culture is colorful in many ways. We dance, sing, and praise while going through our darkest moments. We jump, twirl, and laugh when we’re happy and grateful, and when we’re celebrating something special. Watching beautiful women covered in glitter, spinning in long, flowy, colorful skirts during KANAVAL season remains one of my fondest memories in Haiti. I’d stand on the side, beaming with joy watching their coordinated steps bouncing to the sounds of the loud drums. I’ve always admired everything about traditional Haitian dance. That’s why when my friend Riva Precil started her Tout Se Pa dance workshop in the heart of New York City, I knew it had to be cherished, supported, and promoted. In honor of Haitian Flag Day, we celebrate and we dance to RARA!

The first Haitian flag was created in May, 1803 by revolutionary leader Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who took a French flag, ripped the white out, then asked Catherine Flon to sew the remaining two colors, blue and red together. As descendants of the first black republic, Haitians around the world celebrate Flag day by hosting and attending parties and festivals.

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PAOLA MATHEComment