Manger Yam

Manger Yam

November 25
Like the New Yam Festivals held in some African countries, Manger Yam is a harvest celebration of the yam crop observed in Haiti, a country mainly comprised of descendants of slaves from west Africa. Because Haitians, too, depend upon the yam crop, they hold the Manger Yam, named after the French manger, which means "to eat."
It is considered taboo to eat any of the new yams before the festival for fear of falling ill or bringing ruin to the yam crop. This is also an occasion on which families reunite to celebrate together. In Voodoo, or more properly, Vodoun, belief, it is very important for people to maintain relationships with the dead, as well as with each other and the gods, so the deceased are included in the Manger Yam as well as in other ceremonies and festivals.
In the Voodoo service, the priest or priestess leads prayers to the dead and to the gods and offers the first yams to them. After the ceremony, people feast on yam dishes and enjoy music and dancing.
CONTACTS:
Haitian Embassy
2311 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
202-332-4090; fax: 202-745-7215
www.haiti.org
SOURCES:
FestWrld: Haiti-1999, p. 7
FiestaTime-1965, p. 171