Rara Festival a Three-Day Event Celebrating Political Freedom in Haiti

Haitian government officials, both national and local came together to plan for this year's Raras regional competion and ensuing festival which will run during a three-day event in Léogâne.

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Raras is street music performed procession-style beginning Easter Week annually. Standard Caribbean instruments are augmented by a Raras trumpet, vaksen. The trumpets are constructed of either metal or bamboo materials. They are played by simultaneously tapping the trumpet and forcing air through it.

Raras began as an outgrowth of the slave revolt while Haiti was being colonized. African and Afro-Creole slaves of Saint Domingue started the Raras tradition, which lasted three days from Good Friday until Easter Monday.

Local government representatives from Léogâne included Jean Anicé, Deputy Mayor, Jean Désilus, Secretary General of Raras Unionists; and Guston Louis, Chamber of Commerce businessman. Along with Ministers of Culture, Josette Darguste: Tourism, Maryse Noël; Presidential Advisors, Elsa Noël and Albert Chaney; Cabinet Member, Geneviève Louissaint; Haiti National Police, Ernst Dorfeuille, and Public Security, Joachim Fritz, they met to discuss and organize the Raras Festival.

The Raras Festival has evolved from its first expressions of political discontent to a more sophisticated use of it. In modern Haitian politics, it is used to express the oppression and frustration of Haiti's underclass. Raras has developed into a political movement, having had a history of threatening prior Haitian administrations. But today, Haiti has become a stronger democracy, and the government tolerates political dissension as modern democracies do in other countries.

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