Haiti Culture and Traditions
Customs and traditions
A common handshake is normal when Haitians greet each other. A slight cheek kiss also occurs between people who know each other well, but not often men in between.
Conversations are often multifaceted and lively, perhaps with jokes and anecdotes intertwined before arriving at what you really want to say. Often, especially in rural areas, the greeting phrases can be drawn several times before the actual conversation begins or one proceeds. A constant eye contact with the person you are talking to is normal, although a foreigner in this context may feel cheated. Even on the street, people often look intensely at those who may stand out from the crowd, as a foreigner, or whom they do not recognize. It is not considered rude to strain the eyes of anyone.
- Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of Haiti, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
On the other hand, it is considered directly uneducated if you whistle at someone to call attention, or point to a person.
According to Abbreviationfinder, Haitians like to touch each other during conversations, a light touch of the other’s arms, hands or shoulders. That close friends or love couples go hand in hand is also common, however, it is not considered appropriate to kiss or hug in public.
The dress codes are not very strict. Most Haitians can’t afford to stick with nice clothes. However, everyone tries to stay as clean and tidy as conditions allow. In a modern office, proper upholstery applies. There it is not acceptable for a man to wear shorts. Punctuality, on the other hand, is not so important anywhere. Scheduled times are rarely followed, and no one expects it either.
A guest coming into someone’s yard tilled shout ONE (young. “Honorary”), then the homeowner is responsible respe (“respect”). A guest, even a casual visitor, is not happy to leave without receiving anything, if only a cup of coffee.
What you eat
If you are invited to a meal, the probability is that the base consists of diri kole ak pwo, rice and beans, which is the most common staple food. To this may be fried chicken marinated in a lemon, pepper and garlic sauce, or fried goat meat. Legim is a thick vegetable stew consisting of a mashed mixture of eg eggplant, cabbage, spinach and the cucumber-like vegetable chayote. It can be accompanied by a piece of meat or crab.
In addition to rice, Haitian meals are also based on potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, corn porridge or breadfruit, preferably seasoned with thin sauces on tomato puree, onions, spices and dried fish. In the north, around the city of Cap-Haïtien, pul ak nwa, chicken with cashews, is often served . A standard sauce that often appears as an accessory to other dishes is epis, made with paprika, garlic, onion, thyme and parsley – or whatever happens to be on hand.
Overall, Haitian food is based largely on vegetables and legumes and is usually quite spicy, though not fiery.
Desserts are often made from cane sugar. A popular dessert is also group patat, a bread made of sweet potatoes with condensed milk and cinnamon. Akasan is a thick milkshake on corn.
Women and men
In the Haitian home, women are responsible for cooking, cleaning and laundry; in the countryside, women and children also fetch water and firewood. They also help with sowing and harvesting. Despite their seemingly inferior position, women have a significant responsibility for the household’s economy by being the ones sitting in the square and selling the surplus from the harvest, one of the few outward jobs women in the country have. In the market, it also belongs to the unwritten laws that every purchase must be surrounded by lively bargaining and discussion of prices, which gives the squares women a toughness that they use for their husbands.
Otherwise, the labor market is very man-oriented. However, there are some female teachers, and the nurses are almost exclusively women.
In the upper and middle classes one is supposed to live in a traditional marriage, but even among the broad masses, not even 40 percent are formally married. When a man has built a house for his wife and they have had their first child, their connection in the public eye is fully legal. Often they settle in close to the man’s parents’ home. In areas where men traditionally migrate seasonally, it is more common for the family to live near the woman’s parents.
Polygamy is not allowed by law, but about one in ten Haitian people are estimated to have two families in different houses. It is considered perfectly acceptable by the surroundings, as long as both families are well taken care of.
A normal household often consists of not only the nuclear family but also a single grandmother or grandfather, not infrequently adopted children (AIDS has progressed hard in Haiti) and young relatives.
Women and men have equal inheritance rights from both parents and when a landowner dies, the land is shared equally between all children.
Godparents have a central position in the concept of family. Almost all children have relatives or family acquaintances as godparents and usually establish lifelong relationships with them.
Holidays and symbols
According to Countryaah, Haiti celebrates all Christian holidays and the one that most people appreciate most is the carnival, which precedes fasting before Easter. The carnival is characterized, as elsewhere, by parades and street dances to music by traditional orchestras. Substantial amounts of rum, beer and other alcohol are also consumed.
Secular weekends include Independence Day, which happens to coincide with New Year’s Day, commemorating the proclamation of Independent Haiti on January 1, 1804. The day after that honors one’s ancestors and other dead relatives. April 14 is Pan-American Day and May 1 is not only the workers ‘day but also the farmers’ special day.
On May 18, 1803, the Haitian flag was designed and it is still celebrated today, as it honors the country’s first leader Jean-Jacques Dessalines on October 17, the day he was assassinated in 1806. On November 18, the country’s armed forces are dedicated to commemorating the victory of the French in battle. at Vertières in 1803, when the Haitians broke the colonial empire and secured their independence.
A day that is not a holiday in the real sense but which is still noteworthy is the day of the Caïman forest on August 14. Then the secret voodoo ceremony is celebrated in 1791 during which Haitian slaves drew up plans for their revolt against the French.