The Republic of Haiti, or simply Haiti, is a small nation in the Caribbean islands. Unfortunately, it is known to the world today due to the horrifying earthquake that struck its capital city of Port-au-Prince in January 2010. Are you aware of the rich Haiti culture and heritage? The following facts will help you know more about this beautiful country.
Facts about Haitian Culture
Haiti is the third largest country in the Caribbean and also the first independent nation in Latin America. It was discovered in the year 1492 by Christopher Columbus. The society in Haiti is of mixed type with several influences on it.
- Haiti has a culture that is a mix of Catholicism, Voodoo customs along with influences from Africa and Europe. The native Taino element also has some influence on the culture of Haiti.
- The Voodoo culture is one of the most widely known features of this country which is often associated with sorcery.
- The French and the Creole are the official languages of this nation. The notable writings here are mostly found in Creole language rather than the French.
- The Haitian culture history denotes that, as this country was under the French rule, the influence of France is prominently found here.
- There are only two remarkably distinct classes among the people of Haiti: the elite or the upper class and the lower class. The people of the upper caste are rich, influenced by western culture, whereas, the poor class represent the fact that Haiti is one of the poorest country in the Caribbean.
- Women in this country mostly keep to house making or helping in fields. Very few women are found working in organizations and institutions.
- According to Haitian culture beliefs, they follow rituals that commemorate the lwa or the spirits, lucky events, births and deaths by dancing, music and spirit possessions.
- The Haitian music is also influenced by the American jazz, Spanish music, and Cuban style music. Apart from that, Rara parading music and troubador ballads also belong to Haiti.
- Art and crafts, in the form of embroidery, basket making, leather goods making, pottery, papier-mâché, etc., are very popular in Haiti. The Haitian sequin flags are popular all over the world and sold as art works.
- Due to poverty, nearly half of the population is illiterate and more than half children do not attend school.
- The presidential palace of Haiti was built in the 18th century and is the official residence of the president of Haiti. It was severely damaged during the 2010 earthquake. There are various speculations about the restoration or complete demolition of the palace.
- Food is mostly imported in Haiti. Different types of beans like pinto beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, etc; cornmeal, tomato, oregano, bell peppers, pork, etc., are prominent foods in the Haiti cuisine. Fruits like banana, pineapples, mangoes, coconuts, are commonly found here.
- People commonly enjoy sports like basketball and soccer. Haiti was also the first Caribbean team to qualify in the Soccer World Cup finals.
- Hector Hyppolite, LaFortune Félix, Prefete Duffaut (painters); Philippe-Thoby Marcelin, René Depestre, Jean Price-Mars (writers) are some of the famous people of Haiti.
Although struck in severe catastrophe today, Haiti is a land of rich culture and heritage which should be retained forever.