(BLACK PR WIRE) -- On January 1, 1804, Haiti declared its independence from France after a battle against the French army. The Haitian armies led by Haiti’s first emperor, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, defeated the French forces at the famous “Bataille de Vertieres,” known as the Battle of Vertieres, on November 18, 1803. It was a glorious day because as the first independent black republic to gain its freedom, it meant that they were no longer slaves. On this day of independence, the Haitian people made pumpkin soup for everyone present and celebrated their newly-found freedom. The pumpkin soup became a tradition repeated every New Year among Haitians.
Although the Independence Day is a remarkable day in Haitian history, it cannot come close to the Haitian Flag Day. It is the most popular holiday for Haitians everywhere in the world. Some Haitians might wake up on January 2nd and think, “Oh, yesterday marked our…umm…two hundred something years of independence.” It is a different story when it comes to Haitian Flag Day. Haitians await this day like farmers await rain during a dry season. Haitian Flag Day is similar to the Fourth of July for Americans.
The flag represents everything that Haitians want to exclaim but feel too repressed to say. They get a sense of pride, joy and freedom in the flag. The original flag was sewn by Catherine Flon in May 18, 1803. The flag has had many different versions but the latest version is divided in two with the blue half on top and the bottom half in red. In the center of the flag is the coat of arms of Haiti, including several flags, a palm tree with a hat on top, two canons, a drum, two bugles and two ship anchors. The coat of arms also has a banner displaying the Haitian motto “L’Union Fait La Force,” meaning “Unity Makes Strength.”
On this day, everything takes a back seat. For Flag Day is the day for the Haitian people to rejoice. This is the only day the Haitian people get to go out and show the rest of the world what they are made of. Regardless of how poor their country is, how devastating the situation is, or how many of their brothers and sisters are lost at sea trying to escape the political turmoil and hunger, Flag Day is the day they get to parade around with big happy smiles on their faces. This is the day they get to remember how good it used to be once upon a time. This is the day they get to stand tall and strong and proud holding the replica of their flag while they sing: “Pour le Drapeau, Pour la Patrie, Mourir est beau, Mourir est beau.” This means, “For the Flag, For our Country, To Die is a fine thing, To Die is a fine thing.”