Haiti culture is a mixture of African, West Indian and French cultures. The residents of Haiti are referred as Haitian and use Creole language as their national language. In addition, creole language is commonly used in Haiti’s drama, music, literature and arts. Haitians are very creative and talented artists.
Their art work is popular worldwide as a result of its unique design and appealing colors. The Haitian culture features the Spanish, American as well as the French music. Haitian music is characterized by beating of drum which is considered by Haitian as a very essential musical instrument. Compas or kompa Direk is the most common Haitian music worldwide. The term compas was derived from a Spanish word that refers to rhythm.
Despite Haiti music being very popular worldwide, Haiti music was not recorded until in the year 1937 when Guignard first recorded his jazz music in the year. Haiti music is often derived from Haitian ceremonies and traditions. It is usually characterized by fast tempo beats that are accompanied by saxophone, electric guitars, horns as well as synthesizers. Among the most popular Haitian music are Mizik, Rara, Zouk, Mini-Jazz and Haitian Rap (Daly, 2002).).
Haiti culture is famous for its great festivities. Haiti has a great festival referred as Kanaval Creole that is celebrated on February. During this festival, Haitian leaves their day-to-day activities and goes to the street singing and dancing Haitian’s tradition music. The festival comprises of continuous parade floats as well as music and dances in the entire festival season. The festival marks the start of the holiest moments of the year.
It leads to the time of repentance as well as abstinence. During this season most Haitian prays for forgiveness as well as rebirth. The festival ends during the day of Mardi-Gras which is also referred as Fat-Tuesday. This day was named after the norm that is characterized by consumption of all kinds of fats in Haitian residents prior to Easter season. Another similar festival that is common in Haiti is the Mardi-Gras or Ash Wednesday festival.
The festival is noted by its fantastic parades that consist of pageants, masked balls, floats as well as elaborate costumes and seductive music. Drapo Art is another famous festival in Haiti that is celebrated in Haiti, but in limited capacity. The festival is common especially to the followers of the voodoo religion. The festival is characterized by voodoo flags that are colorfully painted and beautifully adorned.
These paintings are considered as sacred and are greatly valued by the followers of voodoo religion. Another common Haitian festival is the Take Action that is normally celebrated as one of Haitian non-religious festival. This festival acts a mental boost to Haitians. During this festival, Haitian use the occasion as a charitable opportunity to help the less privileged people.
During this festival, Haitians distribute foods as well as clothes to the poor. Krik! Krak Festival is a Haitian family based festival that is characterized by songs, music, dances as well as riddles. The festival gives Haitian a chance to rejoice. Apart from these aforementioned festivals, Haitian also celebrates other common festivals such Christmas, New Year as well as Easter festivals that are also widely celebrated in other parts of the worlds.
Haitian are mainly Christians with 80% of them being Catholics. Another religion that is common in Haiti is voodoo which is highly practiced in many regions of Haiti. The religion is characterized by a mixture of Europeans, African as well as religions customs. Voodoo is often regarded as Haiti’s national religion. It is regarded as the nation national religion because many Haitian directly or indirectly practice it.
Voodoo is considered as a family spirit that is known to help and protect those people that practice it. The religion does not feature any know theology or any organized hierarchy. It however contains its own rituals, ceremonies as well as alters that its followers do not regard to contradict the Catholics norms.
In Haiti many Roman Catholic churches have prayers as well as symbols that are blended with voodoo rituals that results into a unique Haitian religion. For instance, pictures of the Catholics saints are often painted on the church walls to portray the voodoo spirits. In addition, during funerals family members initially undergo voodoo ceremonies and rituals before the Catholic ceremony presiding over (Colin, 1998).
Haiti Cuisine is generally a mixture of African, French as well as Spanish and Haiti native cooking methods, dishes as well as ingredients. Rice as well as beans forms Haitian staple food.
Haitians are also fond of meat and vegetables which makes them common in Haitian menu. Goat, chicken, beef and fish are the main sources of meat in Haiti, whereas carrots, cabbages, peppers as well as tomatoes are the chief vegetables in Haitian foods. Griot is the main dish in Haiti. The dish is commonly served during family ceremonies as well as during parties.
The dish is prepared by first soaking cubes of pork in sour orange marinade which are then slow-roasted until they become tender. They are then fried in oil until they are delectable caramelized. Another popular dish in Haiti is Pikliz. The dish is prepared with carrots, Cabbage and chilies. The vegetable are initially soaked in vinegar. The salad is provided as a supplement in Haitian meals.
Haiti culture job market is gender biased where Haitian men monopolize the job market. In Haiti it is only men that work in the construction industry, jewelers, mechanics, general laborers as well as chauffeurs. It is also noted that most professionals such as engineers, doctors as well as politicians are mainly men.
Nevertheless, nowadays many Haitians women have enrolled in schools and thus play a pivotal role in Haiti’s job market and particularly in the field of medicine. However, despite many Haitian women pursuing formal education, they are still greatly discriminated as they are regarded as being inferior to men. Most schools directors in the country are men. Similarly, men also dominantly act as spiritual healers as well as herbal practitioners. In the religious sphere, Haitian culture does not allow women to become pastors.
Thus, all pastors in Haiti are men. The Haitian culture regards women as home makers. Subsequently, Haitian women are required to take care of their homes by cooking for their husbands and raising children. In addition, Haitian women are required to do the cleaning, washing of clothes, fetching water and firewood as well as helping in planting and harvesting crops. The few professional jobs that Haitian women dominantly occupy include teaching, nursing.
Similarly, Haiti women also dominate in marketing and especially in sectors that deal with goods such as garden produce, tobacco as well as fish. Conversely, Haitian culture considers men as the head of the families. Men in Haiti are solely required to provide for their families. They are entirely required to manage the family farms as well as livestock (Jacobson, 2003).)
In Haiti, marriage is considered for the elite as well as for the middle class. Marriages in Haiti stand at less than 40% of the non-elite population that marries. In Haiti a union between a man and a woman is regarded as complete and receives the full respect of the community when the man builds a house for his family and after the birth of the firstborn.
When this happen marriages occurs later in the couple’s life when the children have grown up. Haiti culture permits families only to reside on possessions that belong to the man’s family. Although polygamy is not legalized in Haiti, a considerable number of Haiti men have more than one wife. Polygamy is a condition that is generally acknowledged in Haitian community.
In the polygamous families, women reside with their children in different homesteads that are provided by their men. Haiti men are considered to be very promiscuous and thus, extra marital affairs are common among the wealthy Haiti men as well as the unmarried Haitian women. Haitian culture does not allow marriages between first cousins, but permits marriages between distant relatives.
The Haiti culture does not allow Haiti men to pay the dowry for their brides. When women are married, the Haitian culture requires them to bring certain domestic items with them. On the other hand, Haitian men are expected to build a house for their wife (wives) as well as to provide garden for the family. In Haiti both men and women are entitled to inherit from their parents (Jacobson, 2003).
Colin, D. (1998). Haiti History and Gods. California: University of California press
Daly, A. (2002). Haiti Culture. New York: Prentice Hall
Jacobson, E. (2003). An introduction to the Culture of Haiti. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press