NEW YORK—Spectators sipping on whole coconuts and chefs grilling curried meats—just a taste of Caribbean culture at the New York West Indian Carnival Festival Monday.
The festival, held in Brooklyn, is the largest “multicultural Mardi Gras” type parade in North America, according to its website.
Yves Conde is originally from Haiti. Now in his 40s, he said he went to the festival for more than just food and culture.
Conde left Haiti in the ’70s, but often goes back to visit Haiti’s beautiful beaches. Beneath the glamor of its tourist destinations, he said the country as a whole is poverty-stricken. This haunts his conscience.
Conde remodels homes for a living. He plans to start a nonprofit in Haiti to help communities create jobs, rebuild, and prepare for natural disasters. He traveled from New Jersey to the festival in order to meet potential business partners and employees.
“I come every year, although you meet people from all different kinds of backgrounds, we all share the Caribbean,” he said. “It feels like you’re back home.”
The West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA) was celebrating the 45th anniversary of the New York West Indian Carnival Festival. The festival attracts an estimated 3 million people, many of whom are tourists.
Wilfiedo Giboyeaus, 57, from the Bronx, danced with zest and a toothless grin as he watched the parade go by. “I’m here to celebrate, it’s a beautiful time of the year,” he said.
“I’m from Puerto Rico, where are you from?” he said.
New York is home to 2 million Caribbean and Central American residents, according to WIADCA. The association’s mission is to promote West Indian arts and culture through folk dance, steel band drums, lessons on Caribbean costume designing, and the annual parade on the Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn.
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 19 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.