Happy February, friends! I love February because of Valentine's Day and it's my birthday month!
I will never forget this cute little window in this picture. We were hiking up the mountain in Cap Haitien to see the Citadelle Laferrière when I spotted the pink window with a heart on it.
Have you wondered about Valentine's Day in Haiti? Do Haitians celebrate Valentine's Day? Is Valentine's Day a big deal in Haiti? I was curious about Valentine's Day in Haiti so I asked my family and friends for more information and here's what they said.
Valentine's Day in Haiti is...
It was so fun learning about how Valentine's Day in Haiti is celebrated. How do you celebrate Valentine's Day?
January 25th is Multicultural Children's Book Day! Our friends at Educa Vision have some amazing books (for all ages!) and they are offering 10% off anything on their website with code real-haiti. You will find...
Educa Vision's Mission: To make a valuable contribution to the body of multicultural and multilingual educational materials, by publishing materials that connect culturally and linguistically to the students, teachers, administrators, service providers and community leaders. Educa Vision started first by focusing on the needs of Haitian students. Since 2002 Educa Vision is transformed into a multicultural and multilingual publisher. This expansion started first with the development of Caribbean Studies Press that publishes scholarly texts and references about the Caribbean and its diasporas. Later with Educa Brazil, an imprint dedicated to the publication of Portuguese titles. Today, Educa Vision publishes and distributes bilingual books in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, English, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Spanish and Urdu.
Jwaye Nwèl! Merry Christmas!
Christmas is such a magical time for everyone, including for Haitian people! We've spent a few Christmas holidays in Haiti, but since I didn't grow up there, I had to do my own research through my family and the Internet about what Christmas is like (mostly as a child) in Haiti. We are raising our two little boys to appreciate their Haitian heritage and to learn the Haitian Creole language.
Christmas in Haiti brings the same universal magical feeling to everyone, especially kids. Here are some Haitian Christmas songs, traditions and printables to teach about Christmas in Haiti! You may also find yourself reminiscing about Christmas holidays in Haiti!
Christmas Songs in Haitian Creole
Christmas Traditions in Haiti
On Christmas Eve, children place their clean shoes full of straw, under the tree on the porch. They hope that Tonton Nwèl (Santa Claus) will remove the straw and put presents in and around the shoes.
Guests usually lend their visits a little before or around midnight to attend La Messe de Minuit (Midnight Mass for Catholics). Or, some leave to go party or caroling. There is also the Revellion, French for Christmas supper, eaten after midnight mass. Traditionally, the meal served is rice, beans, and fried chicken.
Read a beautiful 1960's memoir written by Jean-Marie Florestal titled Christmas In Jérémie. What a great read...I could really picture the scenes!
Haitian Christmas Printables
History is not my specialty nor my passion, but since this blog is about educating others about The Real Haiti, I did some research about the Haitian holiday Dessalines Day, celebrated on October 17th (the day of his assassination).
Jean-Jacques Dessalines is referred to as one the founding fathers (or Emperor) of Haiti, but many don't speak of him because of the controversial violent massacre of thousands of "white Haitians," also known as native French people. Read more about the 1804 Haiti Massacre here.
A Haitian educator, Louis Mercier, once said, "Whatever the means he employed to accomplish his ends, Dessalines remains the most powerful spirit in our history....One cannot be a real Haitian unless one is a Dessalinian." With gaps in the historical information, Haiti still celebrates Dessalines Day on October 17. Read more about the Haitian Revolution, Haiti's Independence here.
When I met my husband Endy (then-boyfriend), he would tell me all about Haiti. He would tell me stories about growing up with his siblings, his best friends. He would tell me about the journeys they had to get to school, the funny stories of dressing up in their parents clothes and the soccer games they played on the roof of their house. He would tell me how beautiful "The Real Haiti" was. I mostly just listened, and quietly doubted that a place I always heard was a "third world country," could be beautiful.
What? You're going to Haiti on vacation!?
It took years of convincing to plan a trip to Haiti...7 years actually! Endy planned everything for our 10 day adventure. Although I was excited, my worried mind kept playing questions over in my head like, "what if we can't find water to drink?" and "what if we get TB or yellow fever?" As I type these ridiculous things (that I never actually said out loud), I can't even believe I thought such judgmental things about a place I'd end up falling in love with!
As an innocent Italian-American, red-headed, 28-year-old, I really had no clue what Haiti was really like. I had no clue that visiting Haiti would change my life. As our vacation plans neared, I secretly wanted to back out or hoped for some reason we weren't going to end up going (sad, but true).
The time came and we flew from Florida to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. My life was forever changed and my eyes and heart were opened like they had never been before. For more of an in depth look about what I saw and experienced, read my blog about things I noticed while in Haiti. Before my first trip, my husband encouraged me to start a blog about Haiti to share what we saw. I wasn't fully on board with the idea, but I did. When I was there and then returned home is when I started blogging about all-things-Haitian and really fell in love with the idea of blogging. I embraced the culture and through my experiences, I had to share all of the amazing things that were so new to me.
Some of the best memories i have in haiti
Fast forward EIGHT years later
Since I started The Real Haiti, Endy and I got married and have two little boys now! Although we don't get to travel to Haiti as much anymore (adulting too much), promoting the Haitian culture, food, people and life in Haiti is still my passion! I couldn't find one place online with resources for teaching kids about Haiti and Haitian Creole so I created my own for my boys and am sharing it with you!
I have added a kids section (there's also a tab above) to The Real Haiti where you can find a variety of resources to teach your kids or students about Haiti -
While all of this started as a fear of Haiti, then a love for Haiti, it's now my business and a huge part of my life. I am so grateful for all of you for following my page for all of these years. Lastly, thank you always for your encouragement! Happy anniversary of The Real Haiti blog and business. Mesi anpil!!!
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I hope you find these freebies useful to teach your children, friends, family or students about Haiti and the Haitian culture! Use it at home, at a family gathering, for a school presentation, or in your classroom to help teach diversity and culture awareness!
Get a FREE 4-page worksheet/poster bundle of Haitian Cultural highlights with Haitian Creole and English!
Where in the world is Haiti?
Numbers in Haitian Creole
Colors in Haitian Creole
Popular Authentic Haitian Food
You may use these online, but please link back to TheRealHaiti.com please!
If there are other topics you'd like us to cover, just let us know! ENJOY!