Somerville Haitian-Brazilian Inaugural Festival Celebrates Immigrant Diversity

Somerville, Haiti, held its first annual "Haiti and Brazil Hit the Ville" joint festival this summer. Somerville is a town that celebrates diversity, and its two biggest immigrant communities, Brazil and Haiti share much in common: their love of soccer, Carnival, and national staple foods, rice and beans. The festival was organized by Somerville Arts Council's Arts Union Program in collaboration with the city of Somerville and SomervilleVIVA, a language exchange program.


Brazil and Haiti first became sister communities in 1978 when Brazil's national soccer hero, Pele, played in Haiti, and the newly composed community anthem, "Haiti e Aqui" was performed. This tribute by Brazil to Haiti solidified the ties of history that have existed between the two nations during the days of the fight for independence.

The festival was open to all immigrant communities with no admission fee at the gate. Brazilian immigrants were please to find the food trucks were offering Brazilian food. The festival goers were entertained by a Haitian Konpa group and Brazil's Samba de Tres. Banners from both countries were displayed everywhere at the celebration, and handicrafts from both countries were showcased at vendors' booths for the delight and purchase by the communities.

At the festival's closing celebration, Brazilian and Haitian party goers paraded in the streets, waving flags and dancing to percussion instruments. Adriana Fernande, liaison for SomerVIVA Portuguese community commented, "It's important for . . . immigrant communities to know . . . they are welcome and safe."

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