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Saut-d'Eau, Ville-Bonheur

The Tradition Goes On...

One of the most visited waterfalls in Haiti and one of the most enticing cascades in the world is the site of Saut d'Eau (So-Dough) meaning waterfall, which holds great cultural and religious significances to thousands of pilgrims.

 

Every year, from July 14 to July 16, rich, poor, and middle-class Haitians from around the country and the diaspora come to enjoy the three-day pilgrimage embracing the miracle of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the spectacular 100-foot-high waterfall of Saut-d'Eau located in the Mirebalais district at about 60 miles north of Port-au-Prince.

Saut-d'Eau's dazzling water

People trek to the panoramic site, travel in trucks, public buses, in air-conditioned SUVs, by horses or donkeys to transform the small village of Ville-Bonheur into a huge multi-religious fair and street feast.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Saut-d'Eau, Ville-Bonheur

The stairs leading to the beautiful cascade of Saut-d'Eau

The dazzling water of this cascade along with the religious connotations of this site have long been the focal point for catholic enthusiasts and vodou practitioners. Some believers await to be healed, many are seeking miracles and good luck, others show up for extra fun, while faithful worshipers pray and plead for salvation to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The story behind the three-day pilgrimage started in 1847, when Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Patron Saint of Ville-Bonheur, is said to have appeared on a palm tree and begun to heal the sick. Ever since, thousands of followers and adventurers have flocked to the pounding cascades in search of miracles and spiritual guidances as they contemplate the picturesque grove of the site. You can see it all in the documentary Haiti's Hidden Treasures Part 2.

 

Visitors take the opportunity to savor their favorite local dishes, which include the deep fried plantains, boiled cabbage-palm, and goat on the grill spruced up with a cup of heavy Haitian rum. The ambiance in the town of Ville-Bonheur is also animated with live street bands and filled with vendors who showcase their produces and useful souvenirs. This event is indeed profitable for truck riders and local residents who rent their homes to visitors seeking for cheaper accommodations. Some people just spend their night on porches and even yards not only to participate in the three-day pilgrimage, but also to enjoy this spectacular tourist attraction.

 

Last Updated 07/16/2015

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