Last Sunday, I had the thrill of attending my first ever Carnival when I was in Haiti. It was a wild night like nothing I have ever experienced. Wall to wall people danced in the streets, while music blared and super-sized floats crept at a snail’s pace down the Champ de Mars in the heart of Port-au-Prince.

Thankfully we were able to get tickets to be in the Minister of Tourism’s stand or it most likely would not have been safe. Tragically the next night, one of the floats caught on fire spreading mass panic while 16 people got trampled to death and countless more were injured. It was more devastating news for a country still trying to rebuild after the near catastrophic earthquake five years ago.

It is even more tragic given the fact that Carnival is supposed to be a time of celebration and great joy. Even the protests over fuel prices (which almost canceled our trip) stopped the day before in honor of Carnival. Despite the numerous hardships most Haitians face, Carnival is a time to let go and have fun. To let the music mesmerize you and beauty of Carnival sweep you away.

Carnival Port au Prince, Haiti 2015

Carnival Port au Prince, Haiti 2015

Carnival Port au Prince, Haiti 2015


Carnival Port au Prince, Haiti 2015

Carnival Port au Prince, Haiti 2015

Carnival Port au Prince, Haiti 2015

Carnival Port au Prince, Haiti 2015This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Rule of Thirds. I purposely reworked these photos for this challenge. I have many more photos from Carnival to share but I wanted to use this post to focus primarily on the beautiful costumes of the women. They were amazing as were the floats, the music and the crowds. 



  1. Oh wow, Nicole…I thought of you being there when I heard the tragic news. I’m glad to see this post, and the images from the Carnival. Indeed it was a tragic accident, with all the challenges faced by the people of Haiti, and when it is a time to celebrate.

    1. Yes it happened right outside the stand we were in the night before. I am so glad I wasn’t there as to see something like this in person would have been simply horrifying. It is really sad.

    1. Yes Lisa. You are right now that I look back at the photos. I’m not sure if it was just when I captured the pictures or if they were always so sad looking. The occasion is generally really joyful with a lot of singing, dancing and smiling. These were just a few of the random shots I got so maybe not representative but good point.

      1. I don’t think my comments are stretching beyond my computer now that i’m home… i’ll try anyway! — i’m sure there were women there that had the true inner glow, but perhaps i’m seeing ‘carry-over’ from earlier times. my ‘trained’ eye and time spent doing portraits long ago has prepped me for seeing things/emotions/personality traits in just a simple photo of a person…

        you’ve been writing some amazing posts and it’s my loss to hve has so little time w/fast internet…

      2. Thanks Lisa for the wonderful comment. Yes when I look at these faces the women do look sad. Every single person in Port-au-Prince knows someone who was killed in the earthquake. Despite their strength you know people are still traumatized. It is hard.

  2. Beautiful photographs, and beautiful costumes. I love these kind of celebrations! So I was very sorry to hear about the fire and people being trampled to death. How very sad, especially for such a tragedy to happen in a time of celebration. It’s the yin and yang of duality isn’t it, but not fun for those killed or injured or their families.

    1. Yes it is awful and I’m so glad it didn’t happen when I was there or I’d be horrified. Big crowds tend to scare me anyway as I always get nervous something like this could happen. A fight broke out when I was in the stands and it scared me. Even though there were armed guards and police everywhere I could just see chaos happening and tear gas and guns pulled out. It was eery.

    1. Thanks Sylvia. Yes the story was horrible and shocking to read the day after I returned home and had been to Carnival in the exact same place it happened just the night before!

    1. One of the large floats hit an electrical line and sparks began. Some of the floats in the parade are huge, being pulled by a semi truck. Apparently they normally just dodge the electrical lines but this time the lead singer on the float hit it with his head and lived. The fire caused chaos in the overcrowded streets and people got trampled to death. It was almost 3 am. SO glad I wasn’t there to see it. Horrible.

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