Haitian Heritage Month (HHM) is widely known in main U.S. cities with the largest Haitian communities, equivalent to NYC, Boston and Miami. Events unfold throughout all the month to pay homage to Haitians’ wealthy tradition, distinctive artwork, mouth-watering delicacies and distinctive traditions. HHM is an growth of the Haitian Flag Day on Could 18 and of a number of vital different historic and cultural traditions held in Could, amongst others: Labor and Agriculture Day, Toussaint Louverture’s beginning, Mom’s Day.
Whereas HHM is a comparatively well-known within the U.S., there isn’t any equal in Montreal — house to the third largest Haitian group amongst North American cities, with over 138,000 folks of Haitian ancestry. It’s surpassed solely by Miami and NYC.
Actions exist in pockets throughout Haitian Flag Day to have fun Haitian tradition and contribution to freedom on the American continent. For instance, in 2019 earlier than the pandemic, the North-Montreal group, Café jeunesse multicultural, held the 10th version of the Haitian Flag Day with musical teams, a parade in conventional costumes, amongst different festivities. In Ottawa, equally, a number of associations come collectively annually because the Haitian Flag Committee to prepare occasions. In the course of the pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Federal Liberal MPs principally held digital commemorations, emphasised with banners harboring support messages in Creole.
Canada’s Haitian festivities spill into summer season
Past Could, different festivities that showcase Haitian tradition and traditions in Canada happen all through the summer season. The week-long Haiti en folie competition in Montreal is the flagship occasion. It’s tentatively scheduled for July 25 to 31 this yr, relying on COVID-19 public well being dangers. Began within the mid-2000s, this multidisciplinary competition completely dedicated to Haitian tradition attracts a number of thousand guests and vacationers annually. It’s absolutely supported by the general public and the personal sector.
Organized by the Fabienne Colas Foundation and Zaza manufacturing, the Haiti en Folie Pageant is meant to advertise Haiti in all its variety, splendor and cultural richness by that includes cinema, dance, music, theater, the artwork and gastronomy of this nation. Culinary workshops, unique cocktails, native dishes, recipe books and spices are all a part of the combo. As well as, Haïti en Folie promotes inter-cultural exchanges by inviting artists from different communities to draw an viewers from various backgrounds.
In the identical spirit, in Ottawa, a weekend-long Haiti en fête competition has taken place. Organized by Kombite Outaouais, this competition created in 2007 aimed to advertise the inventive and cultural heritage of the Haitian group and the numerous different Francophone minorities in Ontario. It benefited from the financial assist of the Federal Authorities and occurred round mid-July in a typical yr.
In 2018, Kombite Outaouais has renewed itself with governance and imaginative and prescient to broaden its horizons to advertise the inclusion of Creole communities within the Nationwide Capital Area. It provided the first version of the Creole Fest, adopted by the second in 2019. With the top of the pandemic or the brand new regular after Covid looming, it’s anticipated that this group will reconnect with its traditions both within the Haiti en fête format or the Creole Fest format.
Why not deliver Haitian Heritage Month to Canada?
This yr, Could 18 being a Wednesday, actions are organized each just a few days earlier than and after. For instance, the occasion Rassemblement des Endijèn is scheduled for Could 20 in Montreal on the group heart La Perle Retrouvée, with musical teams being the spotlight. Within the first half of Could, an Ottawa group organized a panel dialogue on social media concerning the theme Une nouvelle Haiti.
Proper there, one can see how the concept of HHM — Mois du patrimoine haitien — may turn out to be a actuality, by the use of some collaboration and coordination between the teams in Montreal and Ottawa. Planning these occasions and labelling them underneath the identical umbrella of HHM in Canada can be a superb begin. In any case, it takes greater than at some point to showcase our lovely Haitian tradition.
The Montreal-based Centre Toussaint cultural group has said that it needs to assist deliver this concept of a monthlong-celebration to Canada. Now, it’s as much as the totally different teams to cease working in silos, because it says, and attain out to make HHM a actuality within the subsequent few years in Canada.