The first time I was in Haiti for New Year's I was struck with how similar it was to Halloween, 4th of July, and a religious holiday all in one! The Independence day connection make sense as Haiti's celebration of Independence is on Jan. 1st. Thus the fireworks and sense of pride, etc. present in many communities. Everyone who is not half dead returns to their home town to see everyone they can. Those who are living in the states or working in the Dominican Republic return to see family.
My cook finally married the father of her child when he returned..the wedding took place at 5A.M.! Who would schedule that I asked? My husband told me it was because they didn't want it to have it turn into a big affair. Well, that's one way to keep attendance down I suppose. I sure didn't go-I'm not a morning person.
Now the Halloween connection comes from the tradition of seeking "etrenne"--that is probably not spelled correctly, apologies offered to my francophile friends. For several years running my husband would go to the bank to get the newest, (i.e. cleanest) bills he could find for this event. Then on New Year's day, a little parade of kids, teenagers and occasionally really hard up adult will make their way to our house to wish us "Happy New Years!" or Bonne Annee! In response, we are to give candy or some change if we have it. It makes for a new way of celebrating for me, the resident American.
So Happy New Year everyone.....!