Culture Name



Identification. Haiti, a name that means "mountainous country," is derived from the language of the Taino Indians who inhabited the island before European colonization. After independence in 1804, the name was adopted by the military generals, many of them former slaves, who expelled the French and took possession of the colony then known as Saint Domingue. In 2000, 95 percent of the population was of African descent, and the remaining 5 percent mulatto and white. Some wealthy citizens think of themselves as French, but most residents identify themselves as Haitian and there is a strong sense of nationalism.

Location and Geography. Haiti covers 10,714 square miles (27,750 square kilometers). It is located in the subtropics on the western third of Hispaniola, the second largest island in the Caribbean, which it shares with the Spanish-speaking Dominican Republic. The neighboring islands include Cuba, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico. Three-quarters of the terrain is mountainous; the highest peak is the Morne de Selle. The climate is mild, varying with altitude. The mountains are calcareous rather than volcanic and give way to widely varying microclimatic and soil conditions. A tectonic fault line runs through the country, causing occasional and sometimes devastating earthquakes. The island is also located within the Caribbean hurricane belt.

Demography. The population has grown steadily from 431,140 at independence in 1804 to the estimate of 6.9 million to 7.2 million in 2000. Haiti is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Until the 1970s, over 80 percent of the population resided in rural areas, and today, over 60 percent continue to live in provincial villages, hamlets, and homesteads scattered across the rural landscape. The capital city is Port-au-Prince, which is five times larger than the next biggest city, Cape Haitian.

Over one million native-born Haitians live overseas; an additional fifty thousand leave the country every year, predominantly for the United States but also to Canada and France. Approximately 80 percent of permanent migrants come from the educated middle and upper classes, but very large numbers of lower-class Haitians temporarily migrate to the Dominican Republic and Nassau Bahamas to work at low-income jobs in the informal economy. An unknown number of lower-income migrants remain abroad.

Linguistic Affiliation. For most of the nation's history the official language has been French. However, the language spoken by the vast majority of the people is kreyol, whose pronunciation and vocabulary are derived largely from French but whose syntax is similar to that of other creoles. With the adoption of a new constitution in 1987, kreyol was given official status as the primary official language. French was relegated to the status of a secondary official language but continues to prevail among the elite and in government, functioning as marker of social class and a barrier to the less educated and the poor. An estimated 5–10 percent of the population speaks fluent French, but in recent decades massive emigration to the United States and the availability of cable television from the United States have helped English replace French as the second language in many sectors of the population.

Symbolism. Residents attach tremendous importance to the expulsion of the French in 1804, an event that made Haiti the first independently black-ruled nation in the world, and only the second country in the Western Hemisphere to achieve independence from imperial Europe. The most noted national symbols are the flag, Henri Christophe's citadel and the statue of the "unknown maroon" ( Maroon inconnu ), a bare-chested revolutionary

trumpeting a conch shell in a call to arms. The presidential palace is also an important national symbol.

History and Ethnic Relations

Emergence of a Nation. Hispaniola was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and was the first island in the New World settled by the Spanish. By 1550, the indigenous culture of the Taino Indians had vanished from the island, and Hispaniola became a neglected backwater of the Spanish Empire. In the mid-1600s, the western third of the island was populated by fortune seekers, castaways, and wayward colonists, predominantly French, who became pirates and buccaneers, hunting wild cattle and pigs unleashed by the earliest European visitors and selling the smoked meat to passing ships. In the mid-1600s, the French used the buccaneers as mercenaries (freebooters) in an unofficial war against the Spanish. In the Treaty of Ryswick of 1697, France forced Spain to cede the western third of Hispaniola. This area became the French colony of Saint Domingue. By 1788, the colony had become the "jewel of the Antilles," the richest colony in the world.

In 1789, revolution in France sparked dissension in the colony, which had a population of half a million slaves (half of all the slaves in the Caribbean); twenty-eight thousand mulattoes and free blacks, many of whom were wealthy landowners; and thirty-six thousand white planters, artisans, slave drivers, and small landholders. In 1791, thirty-five thousand slaves rose in an insurrection, razed a thousand plantations, and took to the hills. Thirteen years of war and pestilence followed. Spanish, English, and French troops were soon battling one another for control of the colony. The imperial powers militarized the slaves, training them in the arts of "modern" warfare. Grands blancs (rich white colonists), petits blancs (small farmers and working-class whites), mulatres (mulattoes), and noirs (free blacks) fought, plotted, and intrigued. Each local interest group exploited its position at every opportunity to achieve its political and economic objectives. From the mayhem emerged some of the greatest black military men in history, including Toussaint Louverture. In 1804, the last European troops were soundly defeated and driven from the island by a coalition of former slaves and mulattoes. In January 1804 the rebel generals declared independence, inaugurating Haiti as the first sovereign "black" country in the modern world and the second colony in the Western Hemisphere to gain independence from imperial Europe.

Since gaining independence, Haiti has had fleeting moments of glory. An early eighteenth century kingdom ruled by Henri Christophe prospered and thrived in the north, and from 1822 to 1844 Haiti ruled the entire island. The late nineteenth century was a period of intense internecine warfare in which ragtag armies backed by urban politicians and conspiring Western businessmen repeatedly sacked Port-au-Prince. By 1915, the year in which U.S. marines began a nineteen year occupation of the country, Haiti was among the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere.

National Identity. During the century of relative isolation that followed independence, the peasantry developed distinct traditions in cuisine, music, dance, dress, ritual, and religion. Some elements of African cultures survive, such as specific prayers, a few words, and dozens of spirit entities, but Haitian culture is distinct from African and other New World cultures.

Ethnic Relations. The only ethnic subdivision is that of the syrians , the early twentieth-century Levantine emigrants who have been absorbed into the commercial elite but often self-identify by their ancestral origins. Haitians refer to all outsiders, even dark-skinned outsiders of African ancestry, as blan ("white").

In the neighboring Dominican Republic, despite the presence of over a million Haitian farm workers, servants, and urban laborers, there exists intense prejudice against Haitians. In 1937, the Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo ordered the massacre of an estimated fifteen to thirty-five thousand Haitians living in the Dominican Republic.

Urbanism,Architecture, and the Use of Space

The most famous architectural accomplishments are King Henri Christophe's postindependence San Souci palace, which was almost entirely destroyed by an earthquake in the early 1840s, and his mountaintop fortress, the Citadelle Laferrière, which survives largely intact.

The contemporary rural landscape is dominated by houses that vary in style from one region to another. Most are single-story, two-room shacks, usually with a front porch. In the dry, treeless areas, houses are constructed of rock or wattle and daub with mud or lime exteriors. In other regions, walls are made from the easily hewn native palm; in still other areas, particularly in the south, houses are made of Hispaniola pine and local hardwoods. When the owner can afford it, the outside of a house is painted in an array of pastel colors, mystic symbols are often painted on the walls, and the awnings are fringed with colorful hand-carved trimming.

In cities, early twentieth century bourgeoisie, foreign entrepreneurs, and the Catholic clergy blended French and southern United States Victorian architectural styles and took the rural gingerbread house to its artistic height, building fantastic multicolored brick and timber mansions with tall double doors, steep roofs, turrets, cornices, extensive balconies, and intricately carved trim. These exquisite structures are fast disappearing as a result of neglect and fires. Today one increasingly finds modern block and cement houses in both provincial villages and urban areas. Craftsmen have given these new houses traditional gingerbread qualities by using embedded pebbles, cut stones, preformed cement relief, rows of shaped balusters, concrete turrets, elaborately contoured cement roofing, large balconies, and artistically welded wrought-iron trimming and window bars reminiscent of the carved fringe that adorned classic gingerbread houses.

Haitians in Gonaïves celebrate the deposition of President Jean-Claude Duvalier in February, 1986.
Haitians in Gonaïves celebrate the deposition of President Jean-Claude Duvalier in February, 1986.

Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. Nutritional deficits are caused not by inadequate knowledge but by poverty. Most residents have a sophisticated understanding of dietary needs, and there is a widely known system of indigenous food categories that closely approximates modern, scientifically informed nutritional categorization. Rural Haitians are not subsistence farmers. Peasant women typically sell much of the family harvest in regional open-air market places and use the money to buy household foods.

Rice and beans are considered the national dish and are the most commonly eaten meal in urban areas. Traditional rural staples are sweet potatoes, manioc, yams, corn, rice, pigeon peas, cowpeas, bread, and coffee. More recently, a wheat-soy blend from the United States has been incorporated into the diet.

Important treats include sugarcane, mangoes, sweetbread, peanut and sesame seed clusters made from melted brown sugar, and candies made from bittermanioc flour. People make a crude but highly nutritious sugar paste called rapadou .

Haitians generally eat two meals a day: a small breakfast of coffee and bread, juice, or an egg and a large afternoon meal dominated by a carbohydrate source such as manioc, sweet potatoes, or rice. The afternoon meal always includes beans or a bean sauce, and there is usually a small amount of poultry, fish, goat, or, less commonly, beef or mutton, typically prepared as a sauce with a tomato paste base. Fruits are prized as between-meal snacks. Non-elite people do not necessarily have community or family meals, and individuals eat wherever they are comfortable. A snack customarily is eaten at night before one goes to sleep.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Festive occasions such as baptismal parties, first communions, and marriages include the mandatory Haitian colas, cake, a spiced concoction of domestic rum ( kleren ), and a thick spiked drink made with condensed milk called kremass . The middle class and the elite mark the same festivities with Western sodas, Haitian rum (Babouncourt), the national beer (Prestige), and imported beers. Pumpkin soup ( bouyon )is eaten on New Year's day.

Basic Economy. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest in the world. It is a nation of small farmers, commonly referred to as peasants, who work small private landholdings and depend primarily on their own labor and that of family members. There are no contemporary plantations and few concentrations of land. Although only 30 percent of the land is considered suitable for agriculture, more than 40 percent is worked. Erosion is severe. Real income for the average family has not increased in over twenty years and has declined precipitously in rural areas. In most rural areas, the average family of six earns less than $500 per year.

Since the 1960s, the country has become heavily dependent on food imports—primarily rice, flour, and beans—from abroad, particularly from the United States. Other major imports from the United States are used material goods such as clothes, bicycles, and motor vehicles. The Haitian has become primarily domestic, and production is almost entirely for domestic consumption. A vigorous internal marketing system dominates the economy and includes trade not only in agricultural produce and livestock but also in homemade crafts.

Land Tenure and Property. Land is relatively evenly distributed. Most holdings are small (approximately three acres), and there are very few landless households. Most property is privately held, though there is a category of land known as State Land that, if agriculturally productive, is rented under a long-term lease to individuals or families and is for all practical purposes private. Unoccupied land frequently is taken over by squatters. There is a vigorous land market, as rural households buy and sell land. Sellers of land generally need cash to finance either a life crisis event (healing or burial ritual) or a migratory venture. Land is typically bought, sold, and inherited without official documentation (no government has ever carried out a cadastral survey). Although there are few land titles, there are informal tenure rules that give farmers relative security in their holdings. Until recently, most conflicts over land were between members of the same kin group. With the departure of the Duvalier dynasty and the emergence of political chaos, some conflicts over land have led to bloodshed between members of different communities and social classes.

Commercial Activities. There is a thriving internal market that is characterized at most levels by itinerant female traders who specialize in domestic items such as produce, tobacco, dried fish, used clothing, and livestock.

Major Industries. There are small gold and copper reserves. For a short time the Reynolds Metals Company operated a bauxite mine, but it was closed in 1983 because of conflict with the government. Offshore assembly industries owned principally by U.S. entrepreneurs employed over sixty thousand people in the mid-1980s but declined in the later 1980s and early 1990s as a result of political unrest. There is one cement factory—most of the cement used in the country is imported—and a single flour mill.

Trade. In the 1800s, the country exported wood, sugarcane, cotton and coffee, but by the 1960s, even the production of coffee, long the major export, had been all but strangled through excessive taxation, lack of investment in new trees, and bad roads. Recently, coffee has yielded to mangoes as the primary export. Other exports include cocoa and essential oils for the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. Haiti has become a major transshipment point for illegal drug trafficking.

Imports come predominantly from the United States and include used clothing, mattresses, automobiles, rice, flour, and beans. Cement is imported from Cuba and South America.

Division of Labor. There is a large degree of informal specialization in both rural and urban areas. At the highest level are craftsmen known as bosses, including carpenters, masons, electricians, welders, mechanics, and tree sawyers. Specialists make most craft items, and there are others who castrate animals and climb coconut trees. Within each trade there are subdivisions of specialists.

Social Stratification

Class and Castes. There has always been a wide economic gulf between the masses and a small, wealthy elite and more recently, a growing middle class. Social status is well marked at all levels of society by the degree of French words and phrases used in speech, Western dress patterns, and the straightening of hair.

Symbols of Social Stratification. The wealthiest people tend to be lighter-skinned or white. Some scholars see this apparent color dichotomy as evidence of racist social division, but it also can be explained by historical circumstances and the immigration and intermarrying of the light-skinned elite with white merchants from Lebanon, Syria, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, other Caribbean countries, and, to a far lesser extent, the United States. Many presidents have been dark-skinned, and dark-skinned individuals have prevailed in the military.

Both music and painting are popular forms of artistic expression in Haiti.
Both music and painting are popular forms of artistic expression in Haiti.

Political Life

Government. Haiti is a republic with a bicameral legislature. It is divided into departments that are subdivided into arrondissments, communes, commune sectionals, and habitations. There have been numerous constitutions. The legal system is based on the Napoleonic Code, which excluded hereditary privileges and aimed to provide equal rights to the population, regardless of religion or status.

Leadership and Political Officials. Political life was dominated between 1957 and 1971 by the initially popular, but subsequently brutal, dictator François "Papa Doc" Duvalier, who was succeeded by his son Jean-Claude ("Baby Doc"). The Duvalier reign ended after popular uprising throughout the country. In 1991, five years and eight interim governments later, a popular leader, Jean Bertrand Aristide, won the presidency with an overwhelming majority of the popular vote. Aristide was deposed seven months later in a military coup. The United Nations then imposed an embargo on all international trade with Haiti. In 1994, threatened with the invasion by United States forces, the military junta relinquished control to an international peacekeeping force. The Aristide government was reestablished, and since 1995 an ally of Aristide, Rene Preval, has ruled a government rendered largely ineffective by political gridlock.

Social Problems and Control. Since independence, vigilante justice has been a conspicuous informal mechanism of the justice system. Mobs have frequently killed criminals and abusive authorities. With the breakdown in state authority that has occurred over the last fourteen years of political chaos, both crime and vigilantism have increased. The security of life and property, particularly in urban areas, has become the most challenging issue facing the people and the government.

Military Activity. The military was disbanded by United Nations forces in 1994 and replaced by the Polis Nasyonal d'Ayiti (PNH).

Social Welfare and Change Programs

The infrastructure is in a very poor condition. International efforts to change this situation have been under way since 1915, but the country may be more underdeveloped today than it was one hundred years ago. International food aid, predominantly from the United States, supplies over ten percent of the country's needs.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations

Per capita, there are more foreign nongovernmental organizations and religious missions (predominantly U.S.-based) in Haiti than in any other country in the world.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Division of Labor by Gender. In both rural and urban areas, men monopolize the job market. Only men work as jewelers, construction workers, general laborers, mechanics, and chauffeurs. Most doctors, teachers, and politicians are men, although women have made inroads into the elite professions, particularly medicine. Virtually all pastors are male, as are most school directors. Men also prevail, although not entirely, in the professions of spiritual healer and herbal practitioner. In the domestic sphere, men are primarily responsible for the care of livestock and gardens.

Women are responsible for domestic activities such as cooking, housecleaning and washing clothes by hand. Rural women and children are responsible for securing water and firewood, women help with planting and harvesting. The few wage-earning

Haitians expect to haggle when making a purchase.
Haitians expect to haggle when making a purchase.
opportunities open to women are in health care, in which nursing is exclusively a female occupation, and, to a far lesser extent, teaching. In marketing, women dominate most sectors, particularly in goods such as tobacco, garden produce, and fish. The most economically active women are skillful entrepreneurs on whom other market women heavily depend. Usually specialists in a particular commodity, these marchann travel between rural and urban areas, buying in bulk at one market and redistributing the goods, often on credit, to lower-level female retailers in other markets.

The Relative Status of Women and Men. Rural women are commonly thought by outsiders to be severely repressed. Urban middle-class and elite women have a status equivalent to that of women in developed countries, but among the impoverished urban majority, the scarcity of jobs and the low pay for female domestic services have led to widespread promiscuity and the abuse of women. However, rural women play a prominent economic role in the household and family. In most areas, men plant gardens, but women are thought of as the owners of harvests and, because they are marketers, typically control the husband's earnings.

Marriage,Family, and Kinship

Marriage. Marriage is expected among the elite and the middle classes, but less than forty percent of the non-elite population marries (an increase compared with the past resulting from recent Protestant conversions). However, with or without legal marriage, a union typically is considered complete and gets the respect of the community when a man has built a house for the woman and after the first child has been born. When marriage does occur, it is usually later in a couple's relationship, long after a household has been established and the children have begun to reach adulthood. Couples usually live on property belonging to the man's parents. Living on or near the wife's family's property is common in fishing communities and areas where male migration is very high.

Although it is not legal, at any given time about 10 percent of men have more than a single wife, and these relationships are acknowledged as legitimate by the community. The women live with their children in separate homesteads that are provided for by the man.

Extra residential mating relationships that do not involve the establishment of independent households are common among wealthy rural and urban men and less fortunate women. Incest restrictions extend to first cousins. There is no brideprice or dowry, although women generally are expected to bring certain domestic items into the union and men must provide a house and garden plots.

Domestic Unit. Households typically are made up of nuclear family members and adopted children or young relatives. Elderly widows and widowers may live with their children and grandchildren. The husband is thought of as the owner of the house and must plant gardens and tend livestock. However, the house typically is associated with the woman, and a sexually faithful woman cannot be expelled from a household and is thought of as the manager of the property and the decision maker regarding use of funds from the sale of garden produce and household animals.

Inheritance. Men and women inherit equally from both parents. Upon the death of a landowner, land is divided in equal portions among the surviving children. In practice, land often is ceded to specific children in the form of a sales transaction before a parent dies.

Kin Groups. Kinship is based on bilateral affiliation: One is equally a member of one's father's and mother's kin groups. Kinship organization differs from that of the industrial world with regard to ancestors and godparentage. Ancestors are given ritual attention by the large subset of people who serve the lwa . They are believed to have the power to influence the lives of the living, and there are certain ritual obligations that must be satisfied to appease them. Godparentage is ubiquitous and derives from Catholic tradition. The parents invite a friend or acquaintance to sponsor a child's baptism. This sponsorship creates a relationship not only between the child and the godparents but also between the child's parents and the godparents. These individuals have ritual obligations toward one another and address each other with the gender-specific terms konpè (if the person addressed is male) and komè ,or makomè (if the person addressed is female), meaning "my coparent."


Infant Care. In some areas infants are given purgatives immediately after birth, and in some regions the breast is withheld from newborns for the first twelve to forty-eight hours, a practice that has been linked to instruction from misinformed Western-trained nurses. Liquid supplements usually are introduced within the first two weeks of life, and food supplements often are begun thirty days after birth and sometimes earlier. Infants are fully weaned at eighteen months.

Child Rearing and Education. Very young children are indulged, but by the age of seven or eight most rural children engage in serious work. Children are important in retrieving household water and firewood and helping to cook and clean around the house. Children look after livestock, help their parents in the garden, and run errands. Parents and guardians are often harsh disciplinarians, and working-age children may be whipped severely. Children are expected to be respectful to adults and obedient to family members, even to siblings only a few years older than themselves. They are not allowed to talk back or stare at adults when being scolded. They are expected to say thank you and please. If a child is given a piece of fruit or bread, he or she must immediately begin breaking the food and distributing it to other children. The offspring of elite families are notoriously spoiled and are reared from an early age to lord it over their less fortunate compatriots.

Tremendous importance and prestige are attached to education. Most rural parents try to send their children at least to primary school, and a child who excels and whose parents can afford the costs is quickly exempted from the work demands levied on other children.

Fosterage ( restavek ) is a system in which children are given to other individuals or families for the purpose of performing domestic services. There is an expectation that the child will be sent to school and that the fostering will benefit the child. The most important ritual events in the life of a child are baptism and the first communion, which is more common among the middle class and the elite. Both events are marked by a celebration including Haitian colas, a cake or sweetened bread rolls, sweetened rum beverages, and, if the family can afford it, a hot meal that includes meat.

Higher Education. Traditionally, there has been a very small, educated urban-based elite, but in the last thirty years a large and rapidly increasing number of educated citizens have come from relatively humble rural origins, although seldom from the poorest social strata. These people attend medical and engineering schools, and may study at overseas universities.

There is a private university and a small state university in Port-au-Prince, including a medical school. Both have enrollments of only a few thousand students. Many offspring of middle-class and

The carnival that precedes Lent is the most popular Haitian festival.
The carnival that precedes Lent is the most popular Haitian festival.
elite families attend universities in the United States, Mexico City, Montreal, the Dominican Republic, and, to a much lesser extent, France and Germany.


When entering a yard Haitians shout out onè ("honor"), and the host is expected to reply respè ("respect"). Visitors to a household never leave empty-handed or without drinking coffee, or at least not without an apology. Failure to announce a departure, is considered rude.

People feel very strongly about greetings, whose importance is particularly strong in rural areas, where people who meet along a path or in a village often say hello several times before engaging in further conversation or continuing on their way. Men shake hands on meeting and departing, men and women kiss on the cheek when greeting, women kiss each other on the cheek, and rural women kiss female friends on the lips as a display of friendship.

Young women do not smoke or drink alcohol of any kind except on festive occasions. Men typically smoke and drink at cockfights, funerals, and festivities but are not excessive in the consumption of alcohol. As women age and become involved in itinerant marketing, they often begin to drink kleren (rum) and use snuff and/or smoke tobacco in a pipe or cigar. Men are more prone to smoke tobacco, particularly cigarettes, than to use snuff.

Men and especially women are expected to sit in modest postures. Even people who are intimate with one another consider it extremely rude to pass gas in the presence of others. Haitians say excuse me ( eskize-m ) when entering another person's space. Brushing the teeth is a universal practice. People also go to great lengths to bathe before boarding public buses, and it is considered proper to bathe before making a journey, even if this is to be made in the hot sun.

Women and especially men commonly hold hands in public as a display of friendship; this is commonly mistaken by outsiders as homosexuality. Women and men seldom show public affection toward the opposite sex but are affectionate in private.

People haggle over anything that has to do with money, even if money is not a problem and the price has already been decided or is known. A mercurial demeanor is considered normal, and arguments are common, animated, and loud. People of higher class or means are expected to treat those beneath them with a degree of impatience and contempt. In interacting with individuals of lower status or even equal social rank, people tend to be candid in referring to appearance, shortcomings, or handicaps. Violence is rare but once started often escalates quickly to bloodshed and serious injury.


Religious Beliefs. The official state religion is Catholicism, but over the last four decades Protestant missionary activity has reduced the proportion of people who identify themselves as Catholic from over 90 percent in 1960 to less than 70 percent in 2000.

Haiti is famous for its popular religion, known to its practitioners as "serving the lwa " but referred to by the literature and the outside world as voodoo ( vodoun ). This religious complex is a syncretic mixture of African and Catholic beliefs, rituals, and religious specialists, and its practitioners ( sèvitè ) continue to be members of a Catholic parish. Long stereotyped by the outside world as "black magic," vodoun is actually a religion whose specialists derive most of their income from healing the sick rather than from attacking targeted victims.

Many people have rejected voodoo, becoming instead katolik fran ("unmixed Catholics" who do not combine Catholicism with service to the lwa ) or levanjil , (Protestants). The common claim that all Haitians secretly practice voodoo is inaccurate. Catholics and Protestants generally believe in the existence of lwa, but consider them demons to be avoided rather than family spirits to be served. The percentage of those who explicitly serve the family lwa is unknown but probably high.

Religious Practitioners. Aside from the priests of the Catholic Church and thousands of Protestant ministers, many of them trained and supported by evangelical missions from the United States, informal religious specialists proliferate. Most notable are the voodoo specialists known by various names in different regions ( houngan, bokò, gangan ) and referred to as manbo in the case of female specialists. (Females are viewed as having the same spiritual powers as males, though in practice there are more houngan than manbo .) There are also bush priests ( pè savann ) who read specific Catholic prayers at funerals and other ceremonial occasions, and hounsi , initiated females who serve as ceremonial assistants to the houngan or manbo .

Rituals and Holy Places. People make pilgrimages to a series of holy sites. Those sites became popular in association with manifestations of particular saints and are marked by unusual geographic features such as the waterfall at Saut d'Eau, the most famous of sacred sites. Waterfalls and certain species of large trees are especially sacred because they are believed to be the homes of spirits and the conduits through which spirits enter the world of living humans.

Death and the Afterlife. Beliefs concerning the afterlife depend on the religion of the individual. Strict Catholics and Protestants believe in the existence of reward or punishment after death. Practitioners of voodoo assume that the souls of all the deceased go to an abode "beneath the waters," that is often associated with lafrik gine ("L'Afrique Guinée," or Africa). Concepts of reward and punishment in the afterlife are alien to vodoun .

The moment of death is marked by ritual wailing among family members, friends, and neighbors. Funerals are important social events and involve several days of social interaction, including feasting and the consumption of rum. Family members come from far away to sleep at the house, and friends and neighbors congregate in the yard. Men play dominoes while the women cook. Usually within the week but sometimes several years later, funerals are followed by the priè, nine nights of socializing and ritual. Burial monuments and other mortuary rituals are often costly and elaborate. People are increasingly reluctant to be buried underground, preferring to be interred above ground in a kav , an elaborate multi chambered tomb that may cost more than the house in which the individual lived while alive. Expenditures on mortuary ritual have been increasing and have been interpreted as a leveling mechanism that redistributes resources in the rural economy.

Medicine and Health Care

Malaria, typhoid, tuberculosis, intestinal parasites, and sexually transmitted diseases take a toll on the population. Estimates of HIV among those ages twenty-two to forty-four years are as high as 11 percent, and estimates among prostitutes in the capital are as high as 80 percent. There is less than one doctor per eight-thousand people. Medical facilities are poorly funded and understaffed, and most health care workers are incompetent. Life expectancy in 1999 was under fifty-one years.

In the absence of modern medical care, an elaborate system of indigenous healers has evolved, including

Women are typically responsible for household maintenance and marketing garden produce.
Women are typically responsible for household maintenance and marketing garden produce.
herbal specialists know as leaf doctors ( medsin fey ), granny midwives ( fam saj ), masseuses ( manyè ), injection specialists ( charlatan ), and spiritual healers. People have tremendous faith in informal healing procedures and commonly believe that HIV can be cured. With the spread of Pentecostal evangelicalism, Christian faith healing has spread rapidly.

Secular Celebrations

Associated with the beginning of the religious season of Lent, Carnival is the most popular and active festival, featuring secular music, parades, dancing in the streets, and abundant consumption of alcohol. Carnival is preceded by several days of rara bands, traditional ensembles featuring large groups of specially dressed people who dance to the music of vaccines (bamboo trumpets) and drums under the leadership of a director who blows a whistle and wields a whip. Other festivals include Independence Day (1 January), Bois Cayman Day (14 August, celebrating a legendary ceremony at which slaves plotted the revolution in 1791), Flag Day (18 May), and the assassination of Dessalines, the first ruler of independent Haiti (17 October).

The Arts and Humanities

Support for the Arts. The bankrupt government provides occasional token support for the arts, typically for dance troupes.

Literature. Haitian literature is written primarily in French. The elite has produced several writers of international renown, including Jean Price-Mars, Jacques Roumain, and Jacques-Stephen Alexis.

Graphic Arts. Haitians have a predilection for decoration and bright colors. Wood boats called kantè , second hand U.S. school buses called kamion , and small enclosed pickup trucks called taptap are decorated with brightly colored mosaics and given personal names such as kris kapab (Christ Capable) and gras a dieu (Thank God). Haitian painting became popular in the 1940s when a school of "primitive" artists encouraged by the Episcopal Church began in Port-au-Prince. Since that time a steady flow of talented painters has emerged from the lower middle class. However, elite university-schooled painters and gallery owners have profited the most from international recognition. There is also a thriving industry of low-quality paintings, tapestries, and wood, stone, and metal handicrafts that supplies much of the artwork sold to tourists on other Caribbean islands.

Performance Arts. There is a rich tradition of music and dance, but few performances are publicly funded.


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Herskovits, Melville J. Life in a Haitian Valley, 1937.

James, C. L. R. The Black Jacobins, 1963.

Leyburn, James G. The Haitian People, 1941, 1966.

Lowenthal, Ira. "Marriage is 20, Children are 21: The Cultural Construction of Conjugality in Rural Haiti." Ph.D. dissertation. Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, 1987.

Lundahl, Mats. The Haitian Economy: Man, Land, and Markets, 1983.

Metraux, Alfred. Voodoo in Haiti, translated by Hugo Charteris, 1959,1972.

Metraux, Rhoda. "Kith and Kin: A Study of Creole Social Structure in Marbial, Haiti." Ph.D. dissertation: Columbia University, New York, 1951.

Moral, Paul. Le Paysan Haitien, 1961.

Moreau, St. Mery. Description de la Partie Francaise de Saint-Domingue, 1797, 1958.

Murray, Gerald F. "The Evolution of Haitian Peasant Land Tenure: Agrarian Adaptation to Population Growth." Ph.D. dissertation. Columbia University, 1977.

Nicholls, David. From Dessalines to Duvalier, 1974.

Rotberg, Robert I., with Christopher A. Clague. Haiti: The Politics of Squalor, 1971.

Rouse, Irving. The Tainos: Rise and Decline of the People Who Greeted Columbus, 1992.

Schwartz, Timothy T. "Children Are the Wealth of the Poor": High Fertility and the Rural Economy of Jean Rabel, Haiti." Ph.D. dissertation. University of Florida, Gainesville, 2000.

Simpson, George Eaton. "Sexual and Family Institutions in Northern Haiti." American Anthropologist, 44: 655–674, 1942.

Smucker, Glenn Richard. "Peasants and Development Politics: A Study in Class and Culture." Ph.D. dissertation. New School for Social Research, 1983.



Also read article about Haiti from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

Eboni A. Russell-Johnson
this article was very interesting and educational. this was my main source of information for my project. if there were more articles like this in the world then people could understand hatians better.

i am in the eight grade and attend st.augustine's college. this was a very educational article and i personally hope to see more like this out on the internet.
jocean bawn
it is a pleasue to have such useful info
keep up the good work
Randy G. Leger
Well written i must say...
This article truly revealed some forgotten facts about Haiti and it's culture...
Very helpfull!!!
This article helped undestand more about the haitian culture. Even tho i was just looking for info on the medical practices and beliefs i'm glad i found this because it help me understand more about this culture. I'm From the D.R and i remember having a haitian guy worked at my gandmother house when i was a little girl, he was the nicest man ever. And after many years we're still in touch with him.
Shedeline Box and Tayler Mack
Me and my friend both agree that this is helpful we are in the 6th grade and doing a culture project and it is helping us find the information we need for this project.This is very helpful!!!!!
Amanda Nakashian
I am going on a mission trip to Haiti, and this article has been very helpful in understanding the culture better!
I am Haitian but i have been living in the United States my whole life. This article was very interesting and gave me a better understanding of my culture.
QUira Wilkins
i love the information i enjoyed reading it!i like it i like i it is awesome and i think that it is cool and it is pretty good and that i think that it is very good information
Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!so...so impress. I've been living in the US for the past 23 years, I learned more about my culture today then I've ever been told..................thank you soooooooo much! p.s very well written.
Thank you for this lovely article...it has brought so much light about the other half of ME...I am very proud to be Haitian American...My only regret is the the lack of understanding of Haiti's culture...THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PUT TOGETHER SOMETHING INFORMATIVE.
This is a well written article and helped me to see my childhood years better in the context of my culture. Much of what is stated is true specifically the importance and value of education in our culture.
Thanks to all who attributed to this article. I sponsor a child in Haiti and wanted to learn about his culture. Your site is broken down to where one can understand and gain much knowledge compared to other articles I have read.

Thanks again.
thank you for the artical. i really like it.i did not know about all that, good job
What a great resource! Thank you!!! I will definitely use this website as a resource in the future.
Thanks so much i hjad no information for my project until i found this website!
Jason R. Mullings
the artist painter name is BOTOU from HAITI ALSO the bid range of painting 40-60 years old from HAITI his this artist still alive.
Sthelie Jean
Haiti is where I came from. I was born and raised there. Even though I spent 12 years in Haiti, I did not know all of this information about it. So thank you for this article. It is really helpful. I hope you continue with the good work. I love my country no matter what...........!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My daughter is marrying a wonderful man, whose parents are from Haiti. This helps me a great deal understand them and the culture they grew up in. They both came here to the US, went to school and are both RNs. Very impressive article. Thanks. We are Jewish, and I hope they take the time to learn about us as well! We are all G-d's children.
This was a great sorce for my project on Haiti =]
I like to reference this article however, there is no reference to the date this was written. when was this article written? It has great info that you don't find on the web regarding Haiti and gives you a much better understanding of the country. Thank you.
I am very happy to see this well written aritcle about my culture and my home. I am very much of Haitian discent and I am pleased to see interest in our practices and culture.

Thank you very much
Oh dear, it was all going so well until the religious nutcases jumped on the bandwaggon. Anyway, an interesting article, which I only discovered when trying to find out more about the country after the earthquake. Things you do when bored early morning in snow swept England !
omg this site is amazing !
its the best site i have ever seen !
loves it !
Being a American-Haitian mixed, I appreciated the consolation and the ability to become at ease and one with an identity I had not known much about
Great article, many valuable info for me, i am looking for info about all rules of World
i needed more infor on the island then from Pat Robertson and the america press Thanks
I am very impressed with this site!
they should have some information on the Haiti disaster.
William Shaw
I first checked wikipedia who had 2 or 3 paragraphs on Haiti and it's customs and peoples. This site was most informative in every respect. Watching the pictures of the earthquake, brought on many conversations about Haiti, which no one had the answers. Thanks to your website we now all know much more about Haiti. Our sympathy is with the people. Thank You
I read this artical due to earthquack in haiti.Thanks for such a informatic,orgonized and very helpfull articall being a pastor.It is to good and easy for me to share and explain the culture,religion and history of haiti to the pakistani peoples.
May God blesyou a lot.
I really never bothered to learn about Haiti until the recent earthquake. I wanted to know how the mass burials deviated from the normal burial traditions. Tragic.
My sister father and brother went to Haiti for a mission trip and arrived home safe only 3 days before the earthquake. Since they have been home I've been really interested in Haiti and this site has a lot of good information. I just wish I could've gone with to help and I want to go now and get hands on help, instead of just sitting and watching the destruction in my safe and fortunate home.
I want to know more about the clothing they wear. I hope that soon we will be able to send clothing and bedding directly, and it appears to me that women and girls wear dresses and skirts, not jeans and shorts. I want to start collecting things to send, and I want to send the correct items for the Haitian Culture and climate. Please contact me if you can advise, or post this info here. I would like to "adopt" a family or two or three if it is possible. I want so much to help but do not have $$ to do so, however, I am extremely thrifty and resourceful and so I have much material things to share.
selma kapia
interesting i had heard of the earthquakes and wanted to learn about their culture some what like ours not nearly as rich as ours but still that is interesting
This was very interesting thank you. I was doing a project on haiti and this had all the infrmation i needed.
Those informations are really good to know because most people don't know the haitian culture that well, I think that its a good way to inform people so they can have better view of the culture.
This is a very good website with many accurate information. This have helped me a lot and thank you very much. Although there are many modern cultures being informed to us, researchers, but not much on traditional, such as the culture of the Arawak Indians (taino).
This was extereamly helpful for my Haiti report.(due tomorrow i might add)

Thanks from, an eighth grade researcher =)
This article was very helpful. I got a good grade on my report about Haiti for school. Thanks for the information!
i think this is a really good website to go on if you need information on haiti
I really appreciate this article. I am in the seventh grade, and we were required to write something about our culture. This really helped a lot.
I used this for my school report! it helped alot lol
I am in Girl Scouts and we had to pick a country for our thinking day. We picked Haiti. This is great information about the country and it's people. I enjoyed reading the info and found the pictures an added bonus. This article will help us to give our presintation to fello girl scouts.
Very informative and though i am of haitian decent i was enlightened to read of somethings i haven't seen written but have seen certain behaviours i could not explain. Thank you for this enlightment...
I love Haiti it is the best place in the world

this article was very interesting and educational. this was my main source of information for my project. if there were more articles like this in the world then people could understand hatians better.

i am in the eight grade and attend st.augustine's college. this was a very educational article and i personally hope to see more like this out on the internet.
This article is well written and very educational to people like me who left Haiti at a very young age. I just learn alot about my culture from this article.
Great job and i'm haitian but born in fl so its great learning atleast a little bit of my background plus i'm only 13 years old so it's good to Know
that was so touching to me i hope those inocent children get the life they deserve, a great life as a matter of fact have a nice and wonderful life whoever reads this and dont just read this if u didnt read the story so if you dont care about those inocent children then i hope you have a horrable life.
Thanku so much. This helped a lot on my project. A lot of websites didn't give any information. you saved my butt.
I am from Haiti and this article not only is well written but very central, accurate, and impartial in contrast to the majority written about the country. Indeed, good job.
I am an eigth grader, and at my school, eigth graders are required to do final independant projects. I am doing a mural of a section of post-2010 earthquake port-au-prince. And while the information in articles like these is not necessary for my project, I have to say that this is a brilliant article. It covers every aspect of Haiti, and while it gives you a lot of information, it doesn't bombard you with it. Each section is to the point, short, but gives you all the information you need to know. This was a very helpful, educational, and interesting article.

The best to you,
This information is very helpful and I'm proud of the Haiti and its citizen. I look forward to returning to Haiti to help from a spiritual and political means upon going to Washington, DC as a congressman or senator of the United States.

The recent earthquake Haiti encountered truly was a setback to this country. I pray that God continue to bless this country and one day Haiti will become a country of main stream within the United Nation.

May God Continue To Bless Haiti


Bishop Walter Dixon
P.O. Box 832161
Atlanta, GA 30083
this was a very helpful site to fill in the cracks of my questions
This is the best information that I have seen so far on Haiti. Thank you and keep up the good work.
My daughter is currently in Haiti on a mission trip. I just got on this website to find out about culture of Haitians. This was very interesting and informative. Kudos.
I am a Haitian-American and growing up I feel like I had to deal with being outcasted by my non-haitian peers because from what this say I didnt look or sound Haitian. For many years I had to Present myself as just Haitian rather than Haitian-American always feeling like I had something to prove or defend. This article truely captures the true Haiti. Nothing extra and nothing less than the true Haiti. More people should read this article and educated themselves before stero-typing people. I love the fact in this article. Because of the verbal abuse one goes through whether in school or work many haitian-Americans try to deny who they are. Many goes as far as saying they are Dominican or something else to avoid the harsh verbal attacks on Haitians. Once you understand the history of Haitian you will see it is not that different from other conturies. Before the earthquake Haiti was a beauty country with great people. I beleive one day it will be great again. Its funny how only Haiti's bad side catches manny eyes than the good one.
Pumpkin soup ( bouyon )is eaten on New Year's day.

Pumpkin Soup is not Bouyon...It is Soup Giromou...Bouyon is made with Malanga. I hope I spelled everything right. I was born in the US but come form Haitian parents.
this site showed me everything that i wanted to learn from my country no matter what the say about my country i will never forget where i came from i love u haiti with all my heart.
This is a very good site i can use this for my united nation project people saying haiti is the poorest country what about africa,india and other country's all the haitians stay strong.
this really helped me with my social studies project.

Thanks so much for this wonderful essay, I am Haitian American and I've been to and from Haiti, although I was born here in America, I must say I read through this and i thought I knew a lot of my history already, but I was glad that I learned even more. I even smiled at some of the things that I've already known like the hand holding thing, because when I went to Haiti I did mistake it for homosexuality and it was just cool to see that mostly everything was covered, I hope others will read this and get to understand and better know their neighbors on the other side of the ocean as well! You should write more on other countries too I bet they'd be as well written, put together and clear as this one : )
I am so happy to read about the story of my country i love you Haiti
Hi I am member of Faith Temple Community Church of God in Christ and I need to know Who we can reach out and talk with about Assisting your country. We would like to connect with a missons in COGIC missnarys. If you could get in touch with me my e-mail address is vdkaine@yahoo.com We would like an address or phone number so will can get in touch and start helping

Thank you

Thia is different and conforting from the heart wrencfhing information that the world has been receiving about Haiti in the past ten months or several decades. I don't believe that a lot of people think of that country as the home of a lot of Haitian immigrants in the U.S. Haiti is usually associate with the worse things ever. Some Haitian Americans children are almost ashame to admit that they are of Haitian decents due to the unpleasant publicity it has been received. I am a Haitian Mental Health Professional, Sole Proprietor of a small business " Fidelia Counseling Services" providing mental health, substance abuse and community services to Haitians in Boston Massachusetts. I am in the process of pubishing a book tittles" Children with special needs and the Haitian families." I am hopping that this book will be helpful to the community and especially after the last trauma they endured on the 12th of January, 2010. Merci et bonne nuit.
can you email this to me it is an awesome web site
This website helped me write an entire 2 page paper. The credentials and facts are exquisite!! I definitely wish other websites were more thorough like this one! Thanks to Everyculture.com!
this was very helpful :) i'm Haitian but i've lived in the US my whole life since i was the second generation to be born here this was very well written and easy for me to leran more about my culture, thank you very much!
I am really thankful that I found this article, because I'm doing a big project and need soo much information on this Country! Thank you.. This article is worth 500pts! Thanks so much ! Really helpful and I wish that I do good on this project :)
This was very good. I am doing a school project on Haiti and this helped me with it very much. Thank you. (:
this article was very good. keep up the good work. hope i found more like that and even better than that.
This information helped me a lot on my Geograghphy essay. Everything i needed to know all on one page.
Hi. I love this website. It's supes helpful. Thanx totes a lot.
Alice Smith
Thank you so much for the informal information about the culture of Haiti. It important to understand the culture of a country in order to understand its people. I pray that one day my company will be able to be an assist to those in need. Thank you for such a wonderful description of Haiti.
i really like this information. now-a-days, people always talk junk about haiti and tease you if you are haitian. if information like this was seen by everybody, people would like haiti much better than they do now.
i am using this information for my school project and maybe if other children see it they will appreciate the country as much as i do.
Very valuable information. The less unbiased article, so far, that I ever read about Haiti.
hey guys i dont get this information. I only need to find a little bit about haitian culture and i dont get it.
im in 7th grade and im doing a project but i cant find anything about culture and this is due 2morrow help me!
I'm in the 9th grade doing a project on my country(Haiti)and i love this article it is very helpful. there are somethings in this i didn't know. so thank you for this. and i will try recommending this page to anyone who think Haiti is just a simple island, so that they would love or a appreciate Haiti the way it is without given it a bad name.
This is so amazing. On this one little website I found everything I need. YAY ME!!!
This was somewhat helpful but wished the information was updated;it didn't say anything about the earthquake but still very helpful!
Marvin L. Scott
hi love to all in Haiti people in Haiti i love you all.
Fist of all, I would like to thank you for such great informative material. I am haitian born: I was born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, but grew up in the great states, and this article could not have been written any better with such "Actual Factuals"...LOL... Before migrating to the US with my family as a young child, I can recall vividly much of almost everything listed in this wonderful reading! Thank you.
very informitive! Thanks so much !!! i love how the information is so cool and formated in the correct manner
I would like to thank you for your description of the haitian culture. Being haitian myself, this is the first time i have ever encountered a detailed and accurate portrait of haitian culture such as yours. I simply wanted to demonstrate my appreciation and i will continue to visit your website. Thank you and God bless!

I like it! It's perfect for my social studies project!
This was the first time I got to learn about some part of the culture I was born in, but I never got the chance to learn about. my mom sended me since I'm adopted my mom just wanted me to find out that the haitian culture is beautiful. soo Im glad that she sended me here. this was VERY helpgul. I cannot wait to go and visit!!
This article truly revealed some forgotten facts about Haiti and it's culture...
Very helpfull!!!
it is a pleasue to have such useful info
keep up the good work
This article gave me a crediable information because i want to do a visiaul documentary about Haiti, the documentary is based on life after the earthquake. I extracted couple of informations here and wish to ask for your permission to use them in my documentary.

This is so helpful.
This is much needed information for my upcoming marriage to a wonderful Haitian man. Thank you so very much at making me informed and somewhat prepared for my new life and culture.
I have a project for my school so I found this website very useful!! I think it is sad that haiti is very poor I am trying to ask my teacher for him to give the money i earn for the project to haiti. every little helps!!
What does it mean when a potato sprouting is left at mail box side walk of my home if neighbor is practicing vodoo? Is this good and welcoming and should I pick it up, or is it bad and should I not touch it?
Maggie Jacobson
This was a good site to look and research about Haiti!!! It helped me complete a project that i had to do. THANK YOU FOR MAKING IT EASY
Well written gave me lots of great information!! :]
Wow, that artical really truly made me think! I never realized that people still lived like that in the world. Makes me feel so very fortunate to be a woman in the United States. The Culture however is quite interesting, and makes me want to go there and see it myself.
This article was truly helpful in terms of understanding the backgrounds of Haiti's culture and history as a whole. Haiti is truly a beautiful country and the people are amazing. I spend most of my vacation in my family's town of Paillant, which is quiet and very calming, compared to the capital.
I'm foing a project on Haitian cluture and some info was helpfu I still having trouble locating information on Taboos and Rituals of Hatian Culture and the Elimination rules as well. Rule for culture on these items would be greatful. Can any one help me on this?
I really enjoyed reading this article, very helpful and I hope people could have access to this type of information and maybe atleast they would understand where haitians comefrom and we are not all "voodoo practitioners nor all boat people".
As a born haitian, surely your article lifted up my soul about the historical narration.
I am an artist and poet. I have always been fascinated by Haiti's rich history unknown or ignored
from educational institutions and the rest of the world.
Thank's a million for your publication.
Denise Mitchell
Could you provide me with a citation for this article in APA format?
i learn so much information and research on haiti it is so fun when i found this website i just love haiti i don"t know why i heard that a girl ran away from haiti without a visa.
Hello, I like this page but I also wanted to cite it into both MLA & APA format,and many more. That would really help. Thank you.
I am doing my Senior Project on making a brocure to get people to go to an individual country. I got Haiti and this Website was extremly useful and i learned alot from this site. Whoever made this you did an incredible job.
Useful article. I learn a lot from my country to do my essay. Great job!
Nice job! I really liked this information.It was really helpful for my geography projet. Thank you.
im kinna from HAITI and im proud 2 be no matter wat anybody says once again I LUV H-A-I-T-I
I had an assignment to do. A paper on a culture other than my culture which is African American, and I've decided to choose the Haitian Culture. I'm so happy that I choose this culture because I have a lot of haitian friends at my job and I love everyone of them has my own brothers and sisters. I would really like to visit Haiti one day to experience the beautiful land myself. I believe some haitians are some very loving human being. I'm also trying to speak the creole language. Great Article
this information make me pround that im haitian.im hatian
im proud 2 be no matter wat anybody says once again I LUV H-A-I-T-I
I love Haitian Culture and i proud to Haitian. I don't care what other people said about Haitian.
well this was a really good story. and it was nice to finally now what Haiti is about.
noah and marc
im marc and im haitian too but noah is not and im doing hatit for a project for the 6th grade at coral springs middle it give a lot of info i hope we get a +A
Very good document to know about Haiti's culture and economy. Still wondering as how would they break free as a nation from the economy pitfalls...
People in the United States should be glad for their education and stuff because Haiti's doesnt have the education they need and everything so when you get something from your mom and dad and you didnt want it act like you want it because kids in haiti needs it
i had a report on Haiti this is very helpful thank you
caty :)
I did a repart on haiti and this website was very very very helpful Thank youuu
This is an excellent article. I spent a year as a missionary in Haiti but it not learn as much as I did reading this. I hope one day the Haitian government will get its act together and do what they were voted in to do-improve the lives of its citizens and close the economic divide that has dragged that country down to its poorest limit. ONCE AGAIN-A VERY OBJECTIVE-EXCELLENT ARTICLE!
This Article is very helpful as I am doing my work for Social Studies.

Patricia Mellin
This article is very valuable. It revealed important facts and gave helpful information about Haiti.

Thank you.
This article has been helpful to me. I'm a marriage and family therapist in training and one of my clients is from Haiti. This has given me a lot of valuable information about aspects of the culture the client may decide to keep covert. Thank you
I am a Haitian-American and I really enjoyed this article. I was born in the U.S. but my father and his side of my family are from Haiti and I pulled up this article so that I could explain our culture to my 6 year old daughter. When I was young in America we were told not to let people know that we were Haitian because of the way that they may begin to look down on us, but I am trying to inform her to be proud of her culture and to be a positive representative of a Haitian-American and this article was very helpful in her understanding our culture better. Thank you so much. We are proud to be of Haitian descent.
Merise Salem
I am Haitian and,I'm so amazing to read history of my country. there are a lot of information that I didn't know about Haiti, many things they don't teach at school. So I wish to say thank you all who're sharing what the know about Haiti,like that they help people who did not know anything about it,and some people who did know a few will know more and everything. Once again Great thank
Thanks for a very well written article with some very useful information. However, the information on infants being given purgatories at birth, breastmilk being withheld, and introducing liquid and food supplements so early just broke my heart! What can we do?! I just looked over at my two babies and felt so sad for the little ones over in Haiti. With all the families in poverty there it would so help if the so called 'educators' gave correct (and friendly, respectful and loving!)advice to the parents of these precious children and let them know that breastmilk is all they need to grow healthy for the first 4-6 months of life and that they need it straight from birth - no cost to parents and less stress for baby :)
Dear person who made this website
I think you did an amazing job because your were able to give alot of information and it actually made sense. There are those types of websites that don't make sense you would think they pulled their information out of anywhere they saw, but not you you stayed on topic and made sense to the readers.
Keep it up with the fantastic work guys, i'm so proud to be Haitian.
This is an amazing piece of work on Haiti. Bravo! Keep up the good work! I am not Haitian or anything, but I still think that this is a great webpage. Keep up the good work!
I am Haitian, residing in the U.S over 26 years. Migrated in my early teens. This article is informative. Thanks for taking the time to research, explore and to share this information with the rest of us. May you continue to prosper in your endeavors...

And to all Haitians reading this arcticle, remember, you are the sons' and daughters' of a great county.

Future Mrs K
I am an American who is engaged to marry a Haitian-American was looking for hation wedding traditions. I want our wedding and all celebratory parties from here until then, to have some of my southern culture, and his families Haitian culture. I found a few things in here, some I kind of picked up already from his family, and a few new things. Thanks for the info.

Lezin, Marie
At this time,I would like to give thanks,to the author who wrote this fascinated historical data about the great "Mountainous Country in the Western Hemisphere". "Courage"
Edwin Aristilde
thank you guys for this website I really needed this for my project thank you
Thank you for this very informative article on the Haitian people and their culture. My bf is Haitian and I wanted to learn as much as I can about his culture.
Miss Haiti
I need pictures for Haiti's National Costume because I'm contestant for United Nations and I'm Miss Haiti.
I love this sory and am actuly haiton to and these facts are amazing.
Pumkin Soup is not called "bouyon" but "soup joumou" or "soup joumon" or "soup jiromon"
there are two (2) ethnic subdivision: "Syrians" who are well accepted in society and considered part of the elite and "Filipinos" who are considered lower class people.
Besides that i think its well written!
I teacher primary school in south Florida, and have a multitude of Haitian and Haitian-American students in my class. I feel it is important to understand the culture of the children and families you service. I was glad to stumblue upon this website! This has inspired me to display examples of Haitian art and photography in my classroom. I see the stigma in the faces of my students, and it breaks my heart. I want them to feel pride and strive for excellence!
Please list some name of Haitian scientist/invertor
i LOVE this website! I found everything i need for my social studies project on this one article! Next time i have a project on a country, my first stop is this website!
Haiti Project for Vicksburg Intermediate School, Vicksburg, MS 39180
Thank you for the wealth of practical and honest information. As an American who wants to open a free bi-lingual primary school as a gift to Haitian children, you have given me other cultural aspects to consider. Merci, Susanne, Arlington, VA
is it customary for women to sleep with distant relatives if the family choses
I am doing a case analysis and found this website to be very informative. I also used some of the information for my paper however I am not sure about how to cite this website. Can anyone help me?
Thank you! I have lots of Haitian neighbors but I don't know much about their culture. Now I know a little more :)
This was very useful, relevant and interesting information. Much thanks to the authors.
haitians are very nice people. very very accomodating
IM HATIAN but their is some stuff that i dont know about haiti but now i do.
i have to do a project for school on Haiti! Thanks for the info!!!
Harry Joseph
This article sumarizes everything about Haitian culture. It is very well written and avoids any negativities, sensationalism, hear-say or racial comparisons.
It was very helpful with a school project. Thank You
Joseph Anderson
Thank you for this information; it has guided me AWAY from Haitian stereotypes and into the arms of compassion.
nana pierre
this webside is really helpful. because of this webside i get a good grade on my reaserch paper
i in 6th grade and i think this website is very useful
Odines Paulime
Congratulation for this article. One IMPORTANT point that this article is not taking in account is the Father of the country''Jean Jacques Dessalines'' he is the reason why we can talk about Haiti now, I understand the discrimination and stigma that shown by the international aginst him just because he was black and a slave whod did not know how to read and write.

These should not be justify this forgotten. They talk about Christoph because he was mulattoes, also they mention Toussaint Louverture because he has been receiving hi education in France.

Therefore, All Haitian patriots know what Dessalines represent for Haiti.

Kamesha Nugent
Thanks allot
i think this info. will help with my presentation on Haiti.
This helped me on my project SO much and this was one of the only sites I could find that was good and showed as much info as much as this did.
I couldn't find any thing on the kind of clothing they wear which is what i was hoping for
VERY USEFUL! i'm a sophomore and this helped a lot for the powerpoint I needed to do! thanks!
mandy copus
This is amazing I have Haiti for a project and it helped a lot like I got an A+...
Jennifer Amisial
I am Haitian. I love my country I've visited Haiti multiple times. I'm so appreciative that I learned more about my country even though I knew information about it. I'm so glad that this article was written so people can understand more about Haitians instead of stereotyping about Haitians on what they hear instead of researching their information. I'm proud to be Haitian and love my country.
Wow I knew nothing about Haiti until I read this artical. You see I have to do a Discover the World project on Haiti, and I was panicking because I knew nothing of Haiti. When I went to this site I was amazed how much information I found out. This has been a wonderful help to me and my grade!!!
Hello, great article. I do have a suggestion, for the food section. It would be nice if you could revise it. The Soup that is eaten on New Year's day is not made out pumpkin it is made out of winter squash. pumpkins are not found in Haiti. The soup is actually called "soup Joumou". Bouyon is a different soup that is a beef broth based soup that is made through out the year. Soup Joumou is made on New Year's because January 1st is also "independance day" in Haiti. soup Joumou is made on January 1st to celebrate Haiti becoming the world's first independent black republic by defeating the French.
I am of Haitian and Dominican Decent. Although I was born in the States (New York) I have had the pleasure and honor of residing in both countries and visting quite often. I hope you revise that section.
I love Haiti with all my heart not only because I'm
from there and yes this was a great article
I'm so happy to read such informative articles,i live in Haiti,Cap haitian ,i'm a tour operator and thanks to this web site i can share much more information about my culture...good job!
This is a great article,Haiti is a nice place.i love it so much and I wish I could live there for ever make some more article please this is great
This was such a useful site for my Haiti project in honour of Black History Month!
Its great how some websites you find at the very end of the search page are so useful, but sometimes people ignore them. I had to include a bibliography in my project and all the sites I had on there were Wikipedia because that was the first search selection, but after reading this article, I believe that I can do much better research and get a better mark. Thank you very much for putting this information out there and helping so many people, judging from the comments.^^
I'm not sure if you had added the 2010 earthquake with a magnitude of 7M that had taken place 25 kilometers away from Prince-Au-Port, that could be a very useful article. Thank you for this article once again!
This article was interesting which provided much information about the culture, the people and the land. I would like to know more about the educational system and how people at all levels learn and do they have access to computers who and when.
This was so interesting and informative! Everything was well written and clearly understandable. I look forward to looking up other countries as well
Lwil Maskriti
Thank you for tackling a difficult task to summarize Haitian culture and customs. There are some factual errors in this summary that could do a disservice to your readers, particularly around the sociology of Haiti (social inequality and issues of race/color/class/gender), current demographics, traditional and popular culture (e.g. the derogatory term "charlatan" for healers who administer injections), higher education, and the Haitian State. Since the U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs directs students, educators, and other scholars to your website for information, there are a lot of potential readers of this posted information who will be misinformed. Could you please clarify how often this information is updated and whether you respond to readers' comments?
Absolutely awesome article. Thank you for the information!
hi i like your story i hope fun time there we are celabriting at my school for your country so love u wish happy day
Lourdia Devalon
This article will help to educate alot of people's who are unaware of D'Hatian culture and history.
This really helped me because in social studies we are doing countries and mine is Haiti thank you so much!
I was doing a project in school and this helped so much! (Of course, I gave the website credit and I didn't use it word-for word)
It was perfect info for my project. I really think it was great I got an A on my project. I really appreciate the info!
I am a Disaster Management student. I am currently doing a module in Disaster Management Role Players. This was perfect for my module assignment.
weshnel Jean Baptiste
I learned a lot a lot about my beautiful country on this site, pround to be Haitian
Am Currently dating a Canadian man whose origin is from Haiti.
And wanted to know more about them.
Thank you for this great piece.
Many of us are helped
Gernaldod D. Ammi
Why Haiti is a the among of poorest country in the world while it has got her Independence very early?
Brian Martinez
Hello everyone. It's me Brian. I'm back. I just wanted to say I am so happy that I got to read this article!!! It was a major help and I love reading anything from this website! WIsh me luck on my soccer on my soccer game tonight!
I am doing a project on Haiti and this really helped!
Delta Dawn
I love writing about Haiti its super fun learing about a different country because i can tell people about Haiti.
How are Haitians about dating do they date in family do have to marry
thanks for published this article about my country Haiti also I learn a lot about this article. Things that I don't even know before even though I'm Haitian.
Daniel Garrett
Years ago, I had several Haitian friends, and we talked about literature, music and food. Sometimes about history and politics. It's always good to be reminded of Haiti's accomplishments (as well as its difficulties). I want to know more about its contemporary artists and thinkers. DG (contributor to the film journal Offscreen and the book review The Compulsive Reader)
My son married a Haitian Woman. So that I could understand her point-of-view and perspective, I have been reading about the Haitian history and culture. This was very helpful.
DaishyDupri Joseph
Hey, this article is everything I needed for my Human Communication research assignment presenting the culture of Haiti.
Haitians leaving abroad who left Haiti in the 60s, 70s are caught up in a dream of seeing Haiti back the way it used to be. That life is forever gone too much have taken place in the last half-century. Today's generation have adopted to new lifestyles. Previous governments did not conserve and grow the Haitian (Joie de Vivre) that existed. If one look at Haitian culture today you will find all type of foreign way of living inside the population. This is a direct result of non-governamental education and preparation. Getting rid of French culture because it is challenging was a huge mistake...just one example. Some newer discipline introduced to the country are just wrong.
Pumpkin soup (soup "giroumou") and bouillon are two completely different dishes, made of different ingredients.
Those who are not married but live together as a family unit is called a "plassage"
The diaspora living in the US and Canada play a major role in Haiti's economy and gave rise to the middle class in Haiti.
I was born and raised in Haiti. I immigrated to the US at 11 and have returned several times. I am so proud to be Haitian and have a great interest in passing on my Haitian
cultural traditions to my children and others in the diaspora. Visit us a Haitian Cultural Heritage Preservation Inc.
This article was well written and provided a real depiction of Haiti.

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