On January 1, 2014, Ambassador Paul Altidor kicked off the New Year celebrating Haiti’s 210th year of Independence with nearly 200 guests at the Embassy. It was an occasion to celebrate freedom and a taste of Haitian cuisine with Soup Joumou.
Serving and eating Soup Joumou on Haiti’s Independence Day is an integral part of the celebration. During the colonization period in Haiti, only the French masters could eat this soup for good fortune, forbidding the slaves from eating it. On January 1, 1804, to celebrate freedom and express victory, Emperor Jean Jacques Dessalines asked his wife, Marie Claire Heureuse Felicite Bonheur Dessalines, to cook and offer the soup to the former slaves as a message to the defeated masters.
January 1, 1804, Haiti made history by being the first black republic in the world and the first country in the Western Hemisphere to abolish slavery. The first two days of the calendar year is dedicated to commemorate the Independence Day and celebrate Ancestors’ Day. Remembering the Founders of Haiti and the individuals who sacrificed their lives during the fight for independence. The universal need to be free by breaking out of their chains and claiming their human rights.
Photo credit: Emmanuel Jean Marie and Gregory Dominique