Haitian Heritage Month: May 1 - 31
A Celebration of History, Culture, and Pride
May is referred for Haitians all over the world as Haitian Heritage Month. And for the past years, Haitians in Boston, NY, and Florida have beencelebrating proudly the month of May despite their country's difficult times.
Other than January where Haitians celebrate their independence and ancestors days, May has great historical and cultural traditions that all Haitians are proud to make aware of and to pass on to future generations.
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U.S. Senator John F. Kerry has recognized the Month of May as Haitian Heritage Month in a citation, while Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick proclaimed May as Haitian Heritage Month in the State of Massachusetts. The Massachusetts State Senate recognizes annually the Haitian Month with citations presented by either Senator Gary Hart or Diane Wilkerson, and the State House of Representatives acknowledges the Haitian history and culture celebration with annual citations presented by State Representatives Marie St Fleur and Linda Dorcena Forry.
The Mayor of the City of Boston, Thomas M. Menino proclaims every year, the Haitian Heritage Month in the City of Boston and sponsors the parade and the Boston Flag Raising. The Boston City Council recognizes the month upon City council Charles Yancey's yearly request.
In Florida, the Haitian Heritage Month is recognized by Florida Congressman Kendrick B. Meek who had introduced and will reintroduce a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives to establish the Month of May as Haitian-American Heritage Month in the United States. The month was also proclaimed and celebrated in Miami –Dade County by Mayor Alex Penelas. It was recognized by the School Board of Miami Dade County and supported by the School Board of Broward County. The Republican Party of Florida and the alliance Francaise de Miami organized several events in 2004 to acknowledge the Haitian Heritage Month.
Every year, many events to celebrate the Haitian Heritage Month take place in the New England area: the Annual Haitian American Unity Parade, which is held around May 18. The Parade usually leaves Mattapan Square in the early afternoon and continues onto dedicated avenues of the area. It features Haitian leaders, state and city officials, marching bands, delegations from schools, colleges and universities. Many youth groups, cultural, professional, and religious associations as well as, community, political and regional organizations and Haitian and American businesses also take part.
Another event is the Annual Haitian Flag Raising, which is also held annually on May 18. There are patriotic and cultural activities with speeches by several Haitian leaders, state and city officials. In New York, there is the Haitian Day Parade that usually takes place on Nostrand Ave. Brooklyn.
May reminds Haitians of the historic pact signed by the Black and Mulatto officers at the May 1803's congress. As a result, those officers created the Haitian Flag on the last day of the congress, on May 18, 1803. And, under that flag, they fought and expelled the French army, so Haiti became the first Black independent country in the world on January 1st , 1804.
The Haitian Slave Revolution of August 14, 1791 would have never been the only successful slave revolution in the world if General Toussaint Louverture, who was born on May 20, 1743, had not use his military genius to organize and lead the slaves from victory to victory against the powerful armies of Spain, Great Britain and France.
Haitian Heritage Month is celebrated in Massachusetts, New York, and Florida with parades, flag raisings, conferences, radio and TV programs, festivals, and exhibits, etc. It’s a pride-filled month for Haitians who despite their country’s social, political and economic turmoil and the discrimination they suffer in many parts of the world have a great history and culture to celebrate.
In Haiti, May 1st has been celebrated as Labor and Agricultural Day. This is a day when workers, artisans and peasants parade in singing together: “Let's put Shoulder against Shoulder for Haiti's Development.”
During the government of President Francois Duvalier, the second day of May was celebrated as Flowers’ Day. Many cultural activities were held in the capital’s bicentennial plaza, decorated with flowers and the blue and red colors of the Haitian flag. Well known artists and musical groups: Ti Roro, the drummer, the Super Jazz des Jeunes, the National Folkloric Dance Troupe and so on, took part in the annual celebration.
Mothers’ Day is celebrated in Haiti on the last Sunday of May. On that day, Haitians honor their mothers by wearing a red flower if the mothers are alive and a white or purple one if they are dead.
Great religious celebrations occurred during the month of May, known by Haitian Catholics, as the month of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Let us celebrate our heritage with pride and dignity regardless of our differences in order to promote and share our culture. Our heritage is significant for all of us as well as other ethnic groups within the Caribbean community in the United States and throughout the world. As Dr. Carruthers stated, Haitian was the “Irritated Genie” that avenged the atrocities that were committed against all African people.
To join each year's celebration, call:
The Haitian-Americans United, Inc. H.A.U.
The Haitian-American Health Initiatives
HAPHI at 617-298-8076
The Haitian Day Parade's
organizers at 718-434-9250
The marching band during the 2009 Haitian Flag day Parade - Hyde Park, MA
Float at an Haitian Flag Day Parade 2003, Boston
Flag carriers during the 2009 Boston Parade
Drummers performing in the 2009 Boston parade
Haitian Float during Parade in 2005 -Boston, MA
Cablevision Channel 18 Long Island on Friday at 8:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday at 3:00 PM
Comcast Cable Channel 27 New Jersey on Friday at 7:00 PM - Sat. at 2:00PM - Sun. at 5:00 PM
Comcast Cable Channel 64 Jersey City on Saturday at 4:00 PM,
UHF Channel 26 Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Bronx, Long Island on Saturday at 8:00 PM
WITH BARBARA & VALERIO SAINT-LOUIS
© 2004 - 2010• Haitian Treasures • All rights reserved.