Haitians congregated on Port-au-Prince's National Cemetery on Sunday (1 November) to spend time with their deceased loved ones and remember them during Day of the Dead celebrations.
On 1-2 November, Haitians make annual visits to cemeteries in Port-au-Prince and throughout the country to pay tribute to the spirits and honour Gede, the god of the dead. The faithful mark All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day with voodoo worship and by offering coffee and fruit to deceased loved ones. At the cemeteries, they ask the spirit Baron Samedi, known as the gatekeeper of the cemetery, for good health, jobs and luck.
Haitians also played music and laid their offerings before the tombstones. Although celebrated across Latin America and the Caribbean, Haitians have given their Day of the Dead celebration a voodoo twist with voodoo practitioners heading ceremonies to honour their ancestors, often accompanied with bones, rum and a black cross. The general director of the cemetery issued a call for Haitians to always return to their traditions,
"A people that ignores its culture is a people that has to face a lot of problems that will emerge as a result. And so, I invite all those who believe in their country's culture to come out and honour this day as you know there are so few left that are very important to us. So, this is a special moment to come and share in. You can pour a little bit of coffee for them (the dead), talk to them, since this is a custom that we grew up with and saw our grandparents' doing it, and that's why we shouldn't ignore it," the director, Laguerre Marege said.
Voodoo came to Haiti with the slaves imported from Africa and has thrived, embedding itself into the everyday life of Haitians.