Haiti Independence Day around the world in 2020

Haiti Independence Day around the world in 2020
Battle of San Domingo, also known as the Battle for Palm Tree Hill. Image by Polish Army Museum
  How long until Haiti Independence Day?
This holiday next takes place in 134 days.
  Dates of Haiti Independence Day around the world
2021 HaitiJan 1
Haiti Fri, Jan 1National Holiday
2020 HaitiJan 1
Haiti Wed, Jan 1National Holiday
2019 HaitiJan 1
Haiti Tue, Jan 1National Holiday
2018 HaitiJan 1
Haiti Mon, Jan 1National Holiday
  Summary
Commemorates the day in 1804 when Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared independence and restored the country's native name.

When is Haitian Independence Day?

Independence Day is a public holiday in Haiti on 1st January.

Although celebrated by many Haitians as New Year's Day, the date commemorates the declaration of independence from France that was made on 1 January 1804. This is the National Day of Haiti.

History of Haitian Independence Day

The French first got a foothold on the island of Hispaniola when French sailors settled in the western part of the island in the 16th century.  By 1659, the French colony of Saint-Domingue had been established, in what in now Haiti. Sugarcane plantations, worked by slaves from Africa, were established by colonists.

In 1791, the Haitian Revolution began when slaves and some free people of color of Saint-Domingue began a rebellion against French authority. The rebellion was abated when the French abolished slavery in the colony in 1793. A prominent leader in the 1791 rebellion, Toussaint Louverture had grown powerful and in 1801, he drafted a new constitution for Saint-Domingue. Napoleon sent 20,000 troops to the colony to restore French authority. Louverture was captured by the French in 1802 and deported to a jail in France, where he died in 1803.

Jean-Jacques Dessalines, a lieutenant to Louverture, then took the leadership of the revolution, defeating French troops at the Battle of Vertières on 18 November 1803. France then withdrew its remaining 7,000 troops from the island and Napoleon abandoned any ambitions to North American empire. This defeat had ramifications far beyond Haiti, with the war having gone so badly, Napoleon sold Louisiana (New France) to the United States for $15 million dollars, in the Louisiana Purchase.

On 1 January 1804, in the city of Gonaïves, Dessalines officially declared the former colony's independence as a free republic, renaming it "Haiti" after its indigenous name.

Dessalines became the first Emperor of Haiti, but was assassinated by political rivals in October 1806.

The revolution made Haiti the first independent nation in Latin America, the first post-colonial independent black-led nation in the world, and the only nation whose independence was gained as part of a successful slave rebellion.

How is Haitian Independence Day Celebrated?

To mark the day, Haitians shake off their New Year's Eve hangover to watch the parades in the capital, Port-au-Prince. The day is marked with fireworks, dancing and renditions of the national anthem, which honors Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the hero of the revolution.

A New Year's Day tradition in Haiti is 'soup joumou'  pumpkin soup. The story is that slaves in Haiti were forbidden from drinking soup joumou as it was a delicacy reserved for their colonial masters. It's said that Dessalines' wife, Marie-Claire Heureuse Felicite, declared that on this day no Haitian should be denied a traditional bowl of joumou.  Drinking the soup on 1st January to mark the country's liberation has become a symbol for freedom.

Bònn Ane! et Bònn Fèt Lendepandans! (Happy new Year and Happy Independence Day!)

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