May is Haitian Heritage Month! As a Haitian woman entrepreneur, my culture is important to me and played a large part in my journey as an author and creative. So you could imagine my excitement when May rolled around the corner. Especially since The Hidden Script series is influenced by Haitian Culture.
The movement to recognize Haiti's culture was first launched in 1998 through Boston's own radio show "Tele Kreyol" broadcast, where the host launched a series of episodes on the history of Haiti and its contributions to the world at large.
Photo courtesy of THOMAS BENDER/HERALD-TRIBUNE
Later on, in 2005, President Bush organized a celebration to commemorate Haitian Flag Day at the White House. Now events for Haitian Heritage Month are held across the United States, especially at the Big 3 epicenters - New York, Miami, and Boston. These three cities have the largest concentration of Haitians in the United States.
Now is the best time to explore Haiti's rich language, vibrant culture, learn about its deep history, and taste some of the delicious cuisine. Starting with Haitian Flag Day!
May 18 marks the birth of Haiti's flag. Every year people in Haiti, as well as Haitians across the global diaspora, celebrate this momentous occasion!
In order to understand the significance of this day, it helps to understand a bit of history concerning the flag. Before Haiti became a republic, it was a French colony. The vast wealth and abundance of exports coming from Haiti caused it to be called the Pearl of the Antilles.
Despite the prestigious title, the African slaves in Haiti endured excruciating pain as the suffered to work in the most inhumane conditions, which inspired the slaves to revolt in 1791. Toussaint Louverture lead the most successful slave revolt in all history successfully defeating the French, Spanish, and British forces.
Years later Jean-Jacques Dessalines lead the Haitian revolution. On May 18, 1803, Dessalines created the country's first national flag by tearing the white band out of the french flag, and sewing back together.
On January 1, 1804, Haiti was officially declared an independent republic, bringing Haiti's 13 year struggle for freedom to a close. The newly liberated citizens renounced France and swore to protect Haiti's freedom to the point of death. As the commander in chief, Jean-Jacques Dessalines switched the flag to a horizontal design, further separating it from it's French origin.
Over the years the flag underwent numerous changes before reverting to it's final design in 1986. Despite the different designs, the flag remains a symbol of unity and strength for the nation!
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