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 wagon, dolls, 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.
|Sezon fèt||Holiday Season|
|Fèt nwèl||Christmas holiday|
|Vennkat desanm||Christmas Eve|
|Tranteyen desanm||New year’s eve|
|Chante nwèl||Christmas carols|
|Reveyon||Christmas eve and New year’s eve party|
|Kremas||Haitian alcoholic beverage|
|Jwaye nwèl||Merry Christmas|
|Bòn ane||Happy new year|
|Swete larezonnen||To wish happy new year|
|Soup joumou||Winter squash soup|
|Fèt nwèl||Christmas party|
|Ti Jezi||Baby Jesus|