top of page
Haitian culture

      Haiti is a country rich in culture and traditions, stemming from several civilizations, Indian, African, Western and Creole.

          Haiti is also known for its beautiful beaches, landscapes and historical monuments such as the Citadelle La Ferrière or the Sans Soucis Palace.


The Citadel La Ferrière

            Traditions are the soul of the country, the imagination of the voodoo religion, an essential part of Haitian identity.

             Haitian culture has a good image and a strong reputation in the world. It is the memory of the people, playing a role of social cohesion.

                   It is mainly composed of four main pillars:


              Mainly in French, it is represented by many writers, among others: Jean Price Mars, Jacques Roumain (Governor of the dew), Jacques Stephen Alexis (L'espace d'un coudre), René Dépestre (Hadriana in all my dreams ), Jean Mettelus, Fernand Hibbert (Séna), Frankétienne, Garry Victor or Dany Laferrière (from the Académie française).

                Poetry is no exception with Oswald Durand and Etzer Vilaire.

             Popular tales , told by Mimi Barthélémy. Among the most popular tales, Bouki and Malice , two resourceful characters.

Haitian painting
67 peinture.jpg

                   Painting has been an integral part of culture since Independence. "Haiti is the only country of painters" said André Malraux. It is a rich and exuberant form of traditional expression, unique in the world. One can notice the many paintings of the tap-taps or transport buses.

               The paintings are often either Christian, voodoo scenes or naïve, painting which developed in the post-war period and which met with great commercial success. It represents scenes of streets, markets, animal fights or beach. The Saint-Soleil community of Tiga has influenced many artists.

               Some of the most famous painters: Jean Claude Garoute (Tiga), Préfète Duffaut, Levoy Exil, Louisiane Saint Fleurant, Nicolas Dreux, Jean René Jérôme, Philomé Obin among many others.

33 peinture.jpg

The APAM Association, donor of Saint-Alphonse schools, has been promoting Haitian painting for many years.

APAM triptych

Haitian crafts

31 artisanat  .jpg

             The craftsmanship is rich and colorful. Sculptures in wood, stone, ironwork (Village de Noailles, Croix des Bouquets) or Banéco (banana straw).

             Jacmel's carnival masks are widely offered to tourists in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and exported to the rest of the world.

36 artisanat.jpg
Haitian music

              Music is broadcast everywhere in Haiti, in public transport, stores, street vendors. Haitians have rhythm in their blood. Very early on, it offered the opportunity to express the beliefs and traditions of slaves (drums, vaccines). The brass bands took over but the post-war period saw an explosion of music and cadences with troubadours, the compass (Nemours Jean Baptiste), root music, inspired by ancestral music and voodoo rhythms, the zook, Kadans, harmoniously combined with rumba, jazz, reggae or even meringue, hiphop. The musical groups feed the balls, the parties, more and more replaced by the DJs, true animators of the evenings.

           Méringue, traditional music and dance, of African origin can still be heard in the countryside.

            Evangelical or Gospels music is also widely listened to by part of the population. Music such as rap, reggae, raboday, raga or rock are also very popular, taking precedence over more traditional music. Music remains a derivative of misery.

Haitian traditions

are very diverse and often predominantly voodoo.

            Carnival , a cultural and popular event, is characterized by its musical floats, walking bands and carnival parade (Carnival of Jacmel). It is often the occasion for lively popular criticism through committed music.

              The raras are carnival festivities of peasants, very popular, during Lent, with drums, bamboos and wind instruments.

              The Guédés , spirits of the dead, (Baron Samedi, Grande Brigitte) celebrate the dead on November 1 and 2.

        Voodoo is the soul of the people, a way of life, led by the Houngan priests and the Mambos; It is often associated with traditional medicines and magic. It is characterized by ceremonies in communication with the spirits or "loas" with traces of "vévés". Family ceremonies with ritual dances, "Petro" are organized regularly in thanks to the deities.

        Zombification is a typically Haitian reality and the subject of several scientific studies. The Zombie is a person declared dead, following poisoning or bewitching and buried by the family. She is then unearthed in the night and enslaved in a very remote place. It is estimated at a thousand cases of zombification per year in Haiti.

            Haitian proverbs are numerous and express the Haitian soul and the philosophy of life. Here are a few examples:

Its or fe is li or we What you do is what you see

Pitit se richès malere Children are the wealth of the poor

Konn li pa di lespri pou sa Knowing how to read does not mean having wit

Bay piti pa chich To give little is not to be stingy

Kreyol pale, kreyol konprann Speak Creole, understand Creole

Lespwa fe viv Hope brings life

Piti piti zwazo fe nich Little by little, the bird makes its nest

Sak vid pa kanpe An empty bag does not hold up

Bay kou bliye, pote mak sonje Whoever strikes the blow forgets, whoever carries the mark, no

                Haitian cuisine , traditional dishes are full of flavors: griots, pikliz, stuck rice, joumou soup, weighed banana, stew, broth, tom tom, tchaka, lalo, cassava, potato bread, akasan, ...

             The fruits are multiple and are the occasion to prepare good juices: Mangoes, banana, pineapple, melon, chadèque, soursop, pomegranate, cherry, pomegranate ...

             The most famous drinks are rum, Prestige beer, crémasse, clairin, cocktails, not to mention coffee and chocolate from the countryside.

              The Haitian countryside has its own traditions such as konbits, voluntary chores, samba singing, clairin or coffee.

            Traditional plants are numerous and widely used, even in cities, as alternative remedies against all kinds of diseases. Morning teas have seen a resurgence with the Covid 19 epidemic.

bottom of page