The Caribbean country of Haiti has a rich culture that comes from a blend of African, Indigenous and European elements. In the month of May, Haitians in the United States celebrate Haitian Heritage Month.
Haitian Heritage Month is a month-long expansion of the Haitian Flag Day on May 18, which was first celebrated in Haiti in the 1930s to celebrate the creation of the Haitian flag.
The first month-long heritage event was popularized in Boston, Massachusetts in 1998. Over the month of May, a Boston Haitian Access Television program called Tele Kreyol televised a series of programs celebrating Haiti’s history, culture, and global contributions.
In 2001, the Haitian community of Palm Beach, Florida started the Heritage celebration. The Palm Beach Haitian community put in much of the effort to get Haitian Heritage Month nationwide recognition.
Haiti’s rich and complex culture is a pure reflection of Haiti’s African roots, blended with strong Taino, American and European influences.
Traditional Haitian art often includes representations of the country’s lush landscapes and delectable foods in vibrant color.
One of the most famous artists of Haitian descent is Jean-Michel Basquiat, who is known as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. In his paintings, Basquiat made social commentary on his own life, as well as on racism, colonialism, and classism.
Creole food is known as one of the most flavorful cuisines in the world, and stems from Haitian cuisine. Many Haitian dishes are seasoned with a delicious blend of aromatic spices and herbs, which was then brought over to the US.
States like Louisiana and Florida in the Southeast US have some of the oldest Haitian communities, specifically in cities like New Orleans, which is known for its French architecture and cultural influences.
Since the early 2000s, Haitian Heritage Month has been celebrated in Haitian communities across the country with events promoting the cultural exchange of Haitian music, art, food, fashion and more!