The Haitian culture has strong West African and French ancestry as well because of French colonization of the country. It is obvious in the language, music and religion of Haiti. The culture includes further contributions from indigenous Taino and Spanish imperialism.
The name Haiti means "mountainous country”, and it is derived from Taino Indian language. The ethnic group resided there before colonization of Europeans. Haiti is mainly a Roman Catholic country with 80 percent to 85 percent Christian population. A small portion of the population is following Protestantism. Another small but growing population of Hindus and Muslims is residing in the capital city of Port-au-Prince.
The Haitians are attached tremendously to the event of expulsion of the French in 1804, which made Haiti the first sovereign Black Country and second nation in the Western Hemisphere to get liberty from imperial Europe.
Rice and beans are known as the national dish of Haiti and they are the most commonly consumed meal in urban areas. Traditional rural staple in Haiti are Sweet potatoes, rice, cowpeas, pigeon peas, manioc, yams, corn, bread, and coffee. Recently the Haitian diet has got a combination of wheat and soy from the United States as new addition to the diet.
- Sesame seed clusters made from melted brown sugar
- Candies made from bitter manioc flour
- A crude but highly nutritious sugar paste known as rapadou
The breakfast of Haitians normally include coffee and bread, juice, or an egg. The afternoon meals consist of beans or a bean sauce, and there is generally a little amount of poultry, fish, goat, or beef or mutton, normally prepared as a sauce.
Food Customs at Festive Occasions
During occasions like baptismal parties, first communions, and marriages the cousins include:
- Haitian colas
- A spiced concoction of domestic rum called as kleren
- A thick spiked drink known as kremass
Haitian cloths are western style clothes that are comfortable, lightweight and mostly made of cotton and linen fabrics. Haitian men usually wear loose-fitting shirt known as guayabera. Women in rural areas in Haiti wear embroidered short-sleeved blouse, a multicolored skirt, and a scarf wrapped around their hair. In urban area women are allowed to wear pants.
While entering a yard, people of Haiti shout out onè that means honour. Then the host is supposed to answer respè ("respect"). Guests to a family never go away empty-handed or without drinking coffee. Having failed to articulate a departure is thought discourteous.
Haitian men shake hands on meeting and going away. Both men and women are expected to kiss on the cheek when greeting. Women of Haiti kiss each other on the cheek to display friendship. Young women in Haiti are not supposed to consume alcohol except on festive occasions.
Events of Haiti Culture
- Independence Day on 1st January
- Death Anniversary of national hero Jean-Jacques Dessalines on 17th October
- Anniversary of the Battle of Vertières on 18th November
- Landing of Columbus on Hispaniola in 1492 celebrated on 5th December
- Ancestors' Day on 2nd January
- Carnival, celebrated all the three days before Ash Wednesday that falls in February
- Pan American Day on 14th April
- Labor Day on 1st May
- Flag Day on 18th May
- New Year's Eve on 31st December