The Culture of Haiti encompasses a variety of Haitian traditions, from native Taino customs to practices imported during French colonization and Spanish imperialism. As in the cases of Cuba and the Dominican Republic (but to a much larger degree), Haiti is a nation with strong African contributions to the culture as well as its language, music and religion. French, Spanish, and to a lesser extent (food, art, and folk religion) Taino and Arab customs are present in society. Festivals The most festive time of the year in Haiti is during Carnival (referred to as "Kanaval" in Creole or Mardi Gras). The festivities start in February. The cities are filled with music, parade floats and people dancing and singing in the streets. Carnival week is traditionally a time of all-night parties and escape from daily life. Rara, a festival which occurs before Easter, is celebrated by a significant number of the population as well and its celebration has been led to it becoming a style of carnival music. Many of the youth also attend parties and enjoy themselves at nightclubs called discos, pronounced in local slang as "deece-ko" (not like the discos of the U.S), and attend Bal. This term derives from the word ballad, and these events are often celebrated by crowds of many. Religion of Haiti The most widely practiced religion of Haiti is Christianity. Haiti is similar to the rest of Latin America in that it is a predominantly Roman Catholic country with 80%-85% professing Catholicism and approximately 20% professing Protestantism. A small but growing population of Muslims exists in the country, principally in the capital of Port-au-Prince. Vodou, encompassing several different traditions, may contain a mix of Central and Western African, European and Native American (Taino) religions is also widely practiced despite the negative stigma that it carries both in and out of the country. It is more widespread in the rural parts of the country. The exact number of Vodou practitioners is unknown; however, it is believed that a significant amount of the population practice it, often alongside their Christian faith. Some Protestants also have been known to participate in some rituals, although indirectly. Cuisine The cuisine of Haiti is made-up of African, Taino, and European influences that have been part of the diaspora Diri ak Pwa: Rice and Beans, Grito: Fried Pork, cabrit: Goat, Sos poul: Chicken in sauce, Mayi moulen: Cornmeal, Sòs pwa: a bean sauce, Legume: Vegetables (cabbage, carrots, eggplant, meat.) Feulle: Spinach. Kalalou: Okra. Poisson: Fish, Diri ak Let: A dessert composed of sweetened milk and rice, Banann Fri/Peze: (Fried Plantains, also popular in the Dominican Republic)Soup, eggs, meat, and sandwiches are what most Haitians enjoy for breakfast. A preferred seasoning known as Epis in Haiti is commonly referred to as Sofrito by the rest of the region, a basic recipe goes as following: Scallion,either small green or red pepper,parsley,garlic,and vegetable oil All of the ingredients are blended together and a dash of sugar or marinade is added. Salt should not be included or substituted for this. This season is mainly used to condiment or prepare meats, cooked rice and/or stews.