In years past in Haiti, nothing said ‘joyeux noël’ to many like the sight of fanals — those handcrafted, cardboard house lanterns of all shapes, sizes and colors — lighting up the balmy night skies on Christmas Eve. A fixture carried by throngs of celebrants in streets all over the country, from the largest cities to the tiniest hamlets.
Alphonse Piard remembers those lanterns well, from his days as a kid in Les Cayes on Haiti’s southern coast. He also recalls seeing those intricate crafts become a rarer and rarer sight each year.
Now, Piard, a Miami resident for 30 years, hopes to revisit and revive the fanal making tradition he fears is at risk of extinction. With a little help from technology.
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