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In Haiti, carnival celebrations replaced by mourning

It is a manifestation of the Haitian spirit, the enduring buoyancy and optimism that has guided Haiti for more than 200 years.

For as long as anyone can remember, carnival or kanaval has taken place. Until this year. Haiti carnival has now become a wake.

As quake-struck Haitians ended three days of national mourning and fasting Sunday, the satirical drumbeats of the traditional "meringues" ridiculing politicians and rivaling musicians that would have marked the beginning of the three-day carnival have been silenced.

They have been replaced with strings of sorrow, and cries to rise from the rubble and move forward -- avanse -- as Haiti continues to mourn its 200,000-plus dead: fallen artists, struggling neighbors, loving family, inspiring leaders.

Carnival would have ended Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.

"Is Haiti finished? I say, No, No. We have to rise again," Miami-based T-Vice sings in Nou Pap Lage (We Won't Give Up). "Don't be discouraged. I have faith, I have hope, the Haitian people will find victory. Together we shall overcome."

If Haiti's pre-Lent colorful street party has always been the barometer of the Caribbean nation's ailing temperatures, then its cancellation by the government is a sign that the country barely has a pulse. Even if the spirit is willing, Haitians in Miami and on the island say the heart is just too crushed to cooperate.

To read the complete article, visit www.miamiherald.com.

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