Enjoying lots of cultural foods for Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday,” has never been so guilt-free. The day before the fasting season of Lent begins is traditionally a time to indulge (or overindulge). This year BU’s Haitian Cultural Association, Brazilian Association, and French Cultural Society are hosting a Mardi Gras/Carnaval event that will benefit Haitian earthquake relief through the Boston-based Partners in Health. The celebration will be held on Saturday, February 6, at the Sargent Gym beginning at 9 p.m.
Each year, the Brazilian Association throws a Carnaval celebration, which usually does not have a large turnout because the number of Brazilian students at BU is relatively small, according to association president Luiza Santos (SMG’12). Santos thought that collaborating with the Haitian Cultural Association and the French Cultural Society would draw more people and turn the gathering into an extravaganza. The three groups planned a night full of food, dancing, and music, including the percussion band AfroBrazil, which has performed at the Brazilian Association’s past Carnaval events.
But on January 12 things changed — a massive earthquake struck Haiti. “When we learned of the situation in Haiti, we decided to help out by donating our proceeds to Partners in Health, because the people in Haiti could benefit way more than our student groups,” says Farrah Belizaire (SAR’11), president of the Haitian Cultural Association. The event became a way for the three groups to not only showcase an important cultural celebration at BU, but also aid the devastated Caribbean nation.
Although Haiti is more than 1,600 miles from Boston, the effects of the earthquake resonate with BU students. “I have family still in Haiti and it was a very stressful experience to have to worry about their safety while trying to get my mind focused back on school,” Belizaire says.
More than just a night of cultural festivities, the Mardi Gras/Carnaval event is also an opportunity for BU students to come together and support Haiti in its time of need. “It’s going to take the kindness and generosity of so many more people before Haiti can begin to rebuild,” says Belizaire.
The Carnaval celebration, on Saturday, February 6, 2010, runs from 9 p.m. to midnight at the Sargent Gym, One University Rd. Tickets are $7 in advance; $10 at the door and are available at the GSU Link, Warren Towers, and the West Campus dining halls. More information on the event is available here.
Tom Vellner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.