Celebrate Haitian Heritage Month this May

The Haitian Heritage Month celebration is an expansion of the Haitian Flag Day on May 18th, a major patriotic day celebration in Haiti and the Diaspora.

Haiti’s Flag Day has been celebrated in Haiti with parades as well as cultural and athletic events since the 1930s. Besides Flag Day, the month of May carries a number of significant historical and cultural traditions that Haitians observe and are proud to pass on to future generations.

Get to know our beloved Haiti a little more via these fun facts:

Iron Market – Le Marché en Fer:

HAITI FUN FACTS - GB GROUP HAITIDecimated by a 2008 fire and the 2010 earthquake, the Iron Market was built in the 1890s in Paris. It was originally intended for a station in Cairo but was bought by Haitian President Florvil Hyppolite when the Egyptian deal fell through. Less than a year after the earthquake, it was completely rebuilt by the Digicel Group.[1] Each day, 900 hard-working men and women make an honest living selling crafts, fruits, vegetables, beauty and hygiene products here.

TAP TAP - Haitian Taxi (GB GROUP)

Tap taps are gaily-painted buses or pick-up trucks that serve as share taxis in Haiti. They may also be referred to as camionettes. Literally meaning “quick quick” these vehicles for hire are privately owned and beautifully decorated. They follow fixed routes, won’t leave until filled with passengers, and riders can disembark at any point in the journey. Often painted with religious names or slogans, the tap tap is known for its lavish decoration and many feature wild colors, portraits of famous people, and intricate, hand-cut wooden window covers. [2]

Haiti proclaimed its independence from France on January 1, 1804, becoming the first Latin American country to do so. An event held by the UN as the ” International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition” commemorated each August 23rd.

Haiti is divided into 10 departments, 41 districts and 133 communes.

Official Language:
Haitian Creole is the official language inspired by French, with influences from Africa such as the Wolof, Yoruba or Kikongo.

Haitian Coat of Arms (GB GROUP)The Coat of Arms:
Recognized by the 1987 constitution, it consists of a palm tree, a Phrygian cap and two canons. Other symbols are: broken chains, drums, ship anchors, a bugle and the sentence: “Unity is Strength.”

The Dessalinienne:
This is our national anthem composed in 1904 by Justin Lhérisson (lyrics) and Nicolas Geffrard (music).

Education is free & compulsory for children 6-12 yrs.

Haitian Diaspora:
Most Haitians living outside their country of origin are in the DR, USA, Canada and Bahamas. Miami, New Orleans, Louisiana and New York are preferred destinations. In Canada, concentration is mostly in Montreal and Quebec.

Haiti is one of the largest exporters of mango, a sweet and zesty fruit. And don’t miss-out on trying the Fig ti Malis, a tiny and extremely sweet banana.

NFL and NBA:
Jason Pierre Paul, 23, plays for the New York Giants football team and Samuel Davis Dalembert is a Haitian basketball player currently with the Houston Rockets.[4]

Haiti receives three times more cruises than Dominican Republic. In 2005-2010 Haiti received 2,408,572 cruise passengers! [5]

Citadelle Laferrière:
Citadelle HAITI (GB GROUP)Citadelle is a large mountaintop fortress in northern Haiti, approximately 17 miles (27 km) south of the city of Cap-Haïtien and five miles (8 km) uphill from the town of Milot. It is the largest fortress in the Americas and is considered World Heritage Site (since 1982) as designated by  UNESCO. The Citadel was built by Henri Christophe, a key leader during the Haitian slave rebellion, after Haiti gained independence from France at the beginning of the 19th century.

The massive stone structure was built by up to 20,000 workers between 1805 and 1820 as part of a system of fortifications designed to keep the newly-independent nation of Haiti safe from French incursions. The Haitians outfitted the fortress with 365 cannons of varying sizes. Enormous stockpiles of cannonballs still sit in pyramidal stacks at the base of the fortress walls. Since its construction, the fortress has withstood numerous earthquakes, though a French attack never came.[3]

There is so much more than desolate facts to Haiti, we truly hope you’ve enjoyed these and we look forward to celebrating wonderful Haiti continuously but specially all month long! Do you want to share truly fun and interesting facts about Haiti? Join the conversation here with HT #HaitiFunFacts.

[1] “HISTORIC IRON MARKET (LE MARCHE EN FER) REBUILT JUST ONE YEAR AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE.” Digicel Group. 11 Jan. 2011. Web. 01 May 2012. <http://www.digicelgroup.com/en/media-center/press-releases/achievements/historic-iron-market-le-marche-en-fer-rebuilt-just-one-year-after-the-earthquake-that-devastated-it>.

[2] “Tap Tap.” Wikipedia. 20 Apr. 2012. Web. 01 May 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tap_tap>.

[3] “Citadelle Laferriere.” Wikipedia. 04 Mar. 2012. Web. 01 May 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citadelle_Laferriere>.

[4] “SDQ | Sentir Decir Querer.” SDQ Magazine. Web. 01 May 2014. <http://www.sdqmagazine.com>.

[5] Paniagua, Soila. “Haiti Recibe Más Turistas De Cruceros Que RD.” Periódico HOY. 20 Apr. 2012. Web. 01 May 2014. <http://www.hoy.com.do/el-pais/2012/4/20/424073/Haiti-recibe-mas-turistas-de-cruceros-que-RD-pese-a-crisis>.