Each year on May 18, people of Haitian descent honor the nation's Flag Day. In 1803 Haiti—also known as the first free Black republic in the world—officially became independent of France, and it was the first time the current flag was raised.
If you're a proud Haitian person, or you have a friend that is, here are some fun ways that you can celebrate Haiti's Flag Day today.
Blast some Kompa music
A popular form of jazz-based dance music that originated in Haiti during the mid-twentieth century, Kompa is derived from méringue de salon, a string-based style of Haitian dance music. A few songs for you to blast today include: “Tout Va Bien” by Bedjine, "Se Pa Pou Dat" by Alan Cavé, and "Woulib" by Kenny Haiti. Don't forget to grab your favorite dance partner and let the rhythms take you away.
Whip up some Haitian cuisine
What's a celebration without food? Haiti's cuisine is certainly unmatched, so you'll definitely want to whip up a few staples. In true Haitian form, no spread is complete without du riz a djon djon (black mushroom rice); griot (fried pork chunks); as well as banane peze, which is similar to flattened tostones or maduros (fried plaintains, unripe or sweet). Though the country's famous soup joumou, ("Independence Soup"), is usually enjoyed the first day of the new year as a reminder of the shackles Haitians have shorn from its enslavers, go ahead and treat yourself to the delicious squash soup on this special day.
Wear your blue and red
If you don't have your Haitian flag nearby, no worries. Be sure to rock your favorite outfit adorned in red and blue. The flag serves as a reminder of the nation's political independence. The color red represents the bloodshed suffered during the island's Revolution, while the color blue represents hope and unity. The coat of arms is placed at the center to symbolize the readiness to defend the country's freedom at any time.