Dec 21, 2019

Adding some Creole flavor to your holiday season

Li atik sa a an kreyòl.

December is finally here – which means that everyone is in a festive mood.  The holiday season in Haiti is very similar to everywhere else in the world with decorations and festivities.  This is a special time when Haitians from all over the world come home to celebrate with loved ones.

In Haiti, the main event starts on Christmas Eve, or 24 desanm.  This is the most exciting day for everyone.  Some of the many traditions include renovating and decorating the house, eating cake, drinking kremas, and going to church. They normally wear their best clothes to church on those days. It is especially fun for the children who get to eat all sort of candies, play with the kabrèt, a handmade toy wagondolls, whistles, petard, etc… Adults and children alike also stay up all night on New Year’s Eve to help make soup joumou.

The Haitian New Year’s Day tradition of drinking soup joumou dates to January 1, 1804, the day revolutionary leader Emperor Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared Haiti’s independence. Since it was a delicacy reserved only for whites, the soup became a symbol for Haiti’s independence. For many families, the New Year is spent visiting with friends and family and gathering to share soup joumou and zetrenn – holiday gifts.

If you are spending the holidays with Haitian friends and family, here are a few vocabulary words and expressions that could be useful during those conversations. Watch this short video below and then [qsm_link id=1]Click here[/qsm_link] take the quiz to see how many words you were able to retain.

Happy Holidays!


More Vocabulary:

Sezon fèt Holiday Season
Fèt nwèl Christmas holiday
Vennkat desanm Christmas Eve
Tranteyen desanm New year’s eve
Nwèl Christmas
Abdenwèl Christmas tree
Tonton nwèl Santa
Zetrenn Holiday gift
Kado Gift
Bèbèl Ornaments
Dekorasyon Decorations
Chante nwèl Christmas carols
Chandèl Candle
Reveyon Christmas eve and New year’s eve party
Kremas Haitian alcoholic beverage
Banbòch Feast
Jwaye nwèl Merry Christmas
Bòn ane Happy new year
Swete larezonnen To wish happy new year
Soup joumou Winter squash soup
Kabrèt Wagon
Bal Evening party
Fèt nwèl Christmas party
Peta Petard
Jwèt Toys
Poupe Doll
Zetwal Star
Kouwòn Wreath
Krèch Manger
Ti Jezi Baby Jesus

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