On Saturday, May 7, 2016, Ambassador Paul Altidor, Embassy officials and volunteers welcomed thousands of visitors to “Haiti, Soul of the Caribbean – Kanaval” during the annual cultural event “Passport D. C. Around the World Embassy Tour”.
The Embassy displayed several touristic and cultural key check-in points to increase public awareness about Haiti as a holiday destination. Throughout the day more than 5,000 visitors experienced traditional costumes, artifacts, art, fashion, music, Haitian rhum punch, and diverse aspects of Haitian culture.
Visitors entered the Embassy via a mock-up Immigration point where they received an entry/exit pass with details about travel document requirements to visit Haiti. Then, it was on to the second floor for check-in into one of the island’s hotels where they received a bracelet with information. A sample of hotels was on display including Haiti’s only all-inclusive resort Royal Decameron Indigo Beach. The next stop was in the main ballroom to dress for “Kanaval” while listening to live drum playing. As visitors explored each aspects of the “kanaval” they received hats made in Haiti by several designers just for this occasion. Also, all were invited to take pictures with “Kanaval” accessories and the queens on the float. After that experience they were directed back to the first floor to enjoy touring more of the building and “Kanaval” festivities. They had the opportunity to hop on a “tap-tap”, and go to the newly renovated consular section of the Embassy. A photography exhibition of Haitian “Kanaval” from revelers, musical bands, floats to expressive papier-mâché masks from the town of Jacmel navigated the visitors’ journey at the Embassy.
The Embassy continued its central theme of the day by showcasing decorative kites, carved and beaten metal work and pictures of Haiti’s fantastic beaches. Adding to the excitement, a festive beach atmosphere outdoor lounge was created in the courtyard. Guests enjoyed a special taste of the sound of Haitian “Kanaval” from a live DJ.
One of the highlights was the partnership between the Embassy and Haitian designers, who teamed up to provide beautiful costumes, art works and the hats that were handed out to the visitors. They left with the sense that Haiti is one of the most unique and exhilarating islands to visit in the Caribbean.
About Passport D.C. & the Around the World Embassy Tour
Passport D.C. is an annual celebration of international culture presented by Cultural Tourism DC which showcases Washington DC’s embassies and cultural organizations with tours of more than 70 embassies and hundreds of events.
Passport D.C. Around the World Embassy Tour allows visitors and residents to celebrate and sample international culture and heritage in Washington, D.C. Over 40 embassies, representing six continents, offer family-friendly events showcasing art, music, traditional dress, and much more.
Embassy photography exhibition credits: Minister of Culture, Minister of Tourism, Daniel Kedar and Rafaelle Castera
Costume Designers: Maelle David Figaro and courtesy of Minister of Tourism
Mask Designers: Wesler Lubin and courtesy of Minister of Tourism
Hat Designers: Michel Chataigne, Wesler Lubin
“Ayiti” t-shirt Designer: Caribbean Apparel
Float and Floral arrangements: Nellie Goen