Christmas and New Year's Eve in Haiti

christmas 2022

Adrianna Sosa, project coordinator of the Horyzon project in Haiti, visited Horyzon at the beginning of December. She had noticed all the lights and decorations for Advent in Switzerland, so the Horyzon team wanted to know how Christmas is celebrated in her country. "People in Haiti love to celebrate, even if many of them can't afford to spend any extra money," says Adrianna. At least a garland or a string of lights is put up and every family tries to get into the Christmas spirit. The festive days on the 24th and 25th of December are then spent with family and friends: dancing, playing and telling stories to each other. For the girls and young women at the Horyzon youth centre, who often come from disadvantaged families, there is a small Christmas party before the festive season. During Advent, the participants craft Christmas decorations together and prepare something small that they would like to perform for the others during the festive season. For example, a song, a poem or a theatre. On the last day before the festive season, all participants, staff and volunteers come together to celebrate and enjoy the performances. Before the participants go home for the holidays and the centre closes for a few days, they receive a box with a few basic food items such as rice and beans. This ensures that they are provided for until the youth centre reopens in the new year.

In addition to Christmas, the first day of the new year is celebrated in Haiti. Adrianna adds: "A bigger celebration than Christmas is the 1st of January because, along with New Year's Day, it is the official Independence Day." Traditionally, a special kind of pumpkin soup is eaten, called "soup giraumon". Brought over by the French colonisers, it is still prepared by the people of Haiti in their own way as a symbol of their independence. With vegetables, pasta, spices and a bit of meat. This soup is then eaten as the first meal of the new year throughout an entire day, starting with breakfast.